Cheney Free Press -

 
 

By JOHN McCALLUM
Editor 

Cheney council OKs police officer funding application

 


Cheney will try once again to obtain funding to hire another police officer through the grant process.

At it’s first regular meeting in June Tuesday night, the City Council approved a Police Department request to file electronically for a $125,000 grant through the federal Cops Hiring Program (CHP). According to the grant announcement letter, applicants are asked to identify a specific crime or disorder area the money would be used for, and how those funds would help an “agency’s capacity to implement community policing approaches to the problem.”

Cheney Police Chief John Hensley told the council that if successful, the grant would help fund the salary and benefits of a new officer position for three of four required years, with the city picking up the tab in year four and afterwards.

“Which fully loaded is about $100,000,” Hensley said.

“Can we afford it?” Councilman Doug Nixon asked several times during council discussion, referring to the requirement the city pickup any expenses not covered by the grant.

“We can’t afford not to,” Councilman Graeme Webster replied, noting he has always been against spending money while on council, but that the city’s police force is “dangerously short” personnel.

Mayor Tom Trulove noted the resolution before council was simply to approve applying for the grant. The city has no assurances of success, but has a shot at the funding because other cities eligible to receive the money passed on the chance.

“All this is, is an attempt to get another opportunity,” Trulove said.

If Cheney were successful in its application, then the council would need to have a discussion on how best to rearrange the budget to be able to accept the grant. Nixon asked if there would be ramifications to Cheney if it were awarded the grant, but elected to turn it down. Hensley said there likely would be.

In the end the council approved the Police Department’s request to apply for the grant by June 23.

In other news, the council held a discussion on considering participation in the state’s Renewable Energy Production Tax Incentive program. The program provides a cost recovery program for owners of renewable energy sources, and sets up incentive payments for local utilities and qualified energy systems.

After some discussion, council decided to delay further consideration until later in the year during the budget process when electrical rates will be reviewed.

John McCallum can be reached at jmac@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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