Adams sticks to his guns - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Adams sticks to his guns

Councilman opposes federal funds for officers, Harbor Center lease

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Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2013 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - 'Dr. No' is at it again.

City Councilman Steve Adams doesn't want to hire two more police officers despite the department's claim it's understaffed.

Nor does the second-year councilman support the city extending its lease with the University of Idaho to allow the school to operate at the Harbor Center inside the education corridor.

He says government doesn't have a role in education, which is why he's voting against the lease extension. And as for the additional officers, he opposes paying for them with the help of a federal grant, which is what the police department is proposing.

"I'm not opposed to having additional officers or increased public safety, but I am opposed to the funding method, as I have been in the past," said Adams, nicknamed by some Dr. No for frequently voting no, including against any grant tied to federal money, on Monday.

That's exactly what the police department is proposing, however.

It wants to hire two officers through the federal COPS Hiring Recovery Act, a grant that would pay up to 75 percent of the officers' salaries for three years. The city would have to absorb the costs in the fourth year.

Police Chief Wayne Longo said Monday the department has been understaffed since 2007-08. It has maintained around 70 officers since 2009, after it lost two positions due to the recession. Since 2009, calls for service have increased by 25 percent, according to police department data it provided the city.

At a ratio of one officer per 1,000 people, below recommended standards, each officer averaged 1,321 calls for service in 2012.

"The patrol division is stressed," Longo said Monday. "There's really no excuse-me room."

Longo pitched the idea of bringing on the extra officers Monday to the General Services Committee, a subcommittee that recommends items to the City Council.

Adams balked at funding the officers with Department of Justice funds. He has said several times that the federal government is broke and the city shouldn't have anything to do with federal dollars. He favored putting more officers on the street, he said, but paying for them in house.

"It's not free money, it comes with strings attached, and is that sustainable?" he said. "The police department is the largest budget in the city, I think we can probably come up with $150 grand."

That's what it costs per year for the two positions. Officials said they're familiar with Adams opposition of federal money.

"Steve's always been very upfront with that," Longo said. "I respect his position."

The police budget is roughly $9.5 million. Twin Falls is nearly Coeur d'Alene's population of 44,137. It has 100.5 FTEs in its police department, budgeted at $8.2 million.

"We do not like to cut off any potential revenue streams," said Troy Tymesen, finance director. "Especially when it comes to public safety - the core reason we were put into existence."

Adams is the only councilman with a firm stance against federal money. So when the officer additions go before the City Council May 21, it will likely pass.

Adams, meanwhile campaigned two years ago on a platform that City Hall could have 100 too many jobs, which he would look to trim.

In 2008, the city had 363.23 full-time equivalent positions. In 2013, it has 348.53 FTEs budgeted.

Adams said Monday 100 jobs too many may have been too bold a proclamation, but there's no way of knowing without forming a committee to look into it, which is "just not something that's going to happen this year."

"That might have been a high estimation," Adams said of the 100 figure, but added about the drop in city employee numbers in recent years: "It's gone down. We're trending in the right direction."

As for education, he said the city should stay out, or get paid fairly.

Adams said he's voting against extending the Harbor Center lease because it doesn't give the city fair market compensation, and he questions whether the government should be involved in education anyway.

The lease rents the space to the higher education institute for $10 a year, and has since 2001.

"I think we just disagree," said Charles Buck, U of I associate vice president in Coeur d'Alene.

He said the land grant university, as established by Congress, has a history of partnering with Coeur d'Alene to offer higher education and positively impact the community.

"Government typically does support education in a robust way and we certainly hope that would continue," he said.

City Administrator Wendy Gabriel said the benefits of having the university in the education corridor outweigh any loss of lease dollars.

"I think there is no question that the university's presence at Harbor Center provides value, not just to the city as an organization but to the community, and to North Idaho College," she wrote in an email.

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31 comments:

  • concernedcitizen posted at 6:17 am on Wed, May 15, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    CONFUSED

    I spit my coffee all over my screen LMBO! Good one. ;)

     
  • CONFUSED posted at 8:08 pm on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    CONFUSED Posts: 67

    Why doesn't the city just dip into the rainy day fund?

     
  • BorneNIdaho posted at 7:19 pm on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    BorneNIdaho Posts: 142

    Steve, keep up the good work! It is really too bad the majority of the council is not more like you.

     
  • LTRLTR posted at 4:33 pm on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    DeNiles: If we pay taxes to the State of Idaho and taxes to the City of Cda. a person would feel we are doubled taxed.

    Harbor Center was paid by sewer user fees. Sewer user fees can only legally be used for sewer operations.

    I don't know why the State of Idaho has not sued the City of Coeur d'Alene for their actions. Perhaps the State does not want to take action because the City is saving them millions of dollars by allowing the college on the sewer treatment plant site for $10 per year.

     
  • whatwillbe53 posted at 4:21 pm on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    whatwillbe53 Posts: 178

    I disagree on taking the federal funds. It backfires down the road.
    If we need more officers, we need to budget for them YESTERDAY!

    Why does Twin Falls get more bang for their buck?
    Why does Mayor Bloem prefer to have an understaffed police force?
    Why are existing officers pushed to the limit to minimize the appearance of crime here?


    On the school funding/lease issue:
    NIC was originally authorized as a two year community college.
    Who authorized it to become a four year degree institution?
    If other state funded campuses desire a presence, let them pay the going lease rate.
    Are you willing to fully subsidize Boise University in the Fall?

    From Mark Browning, SBOE 2008:
    Thank you for the email. The charter under which North Idaho College operates is not under the direct control of the Idaho State Board of Education( SBOE). NIC was created by voters of Kootenai County by the creation of a taxing district--- specifically designated to fund NIC. It is not within the jursidiction of the SBOE to determine if a recommendation from a local city council violates a community college charter, so as such I can not comment.

    The item, Harbor Center, that you are interested in, is on the agenda for Thursday's open session of the SBOE. You can review all the backbround material related to that item by logging on to www.boardofed.idaho.gov then clicking on Board Meetings then on June 19-20 then on agenda. The item is part of the BAHR (Business and Human Resource) committee report.

     
  • LTRLTR posted at 4:14 pm on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    Thank you Cda. Press for removing the attack comments!

     
  • ancientemplar posted at 3:32 pm on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    ancientemplar Posts: 1268

    The same way Cd'A gets a city attorney for $125,000/year and he writes ordinances and gives bad advice.

     
  • DeNiles posted at 3:18 pm on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    It is not legal for the city to subsidize the University of Idaho to such a degree. It is essentially discrimination. The result is that those students who attend that institution are receiving city education subsidies whereas those who do not, don't. Are certain students guided in that direction? Are certain students accepted and others denied attendance? The city must treat all schools the same. It cannot favor one over another. Right now any student not attending this 'specially enhanced' university could sue the city and win.

    As for the police........... take the federal funds. If we don't someone else will.

     
  • LTRLTR posted at 3:12 pm on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    Citizens: Should the City provide welfare benefits to higher education?

    Why can't higher education pay their fair share?

     
  • LTRLTR posted at 3:09 pm on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    I want to thank the locals for keeping the conversation decent.

    Unfortunately there are those who complain about the Cda. Press Comments section but yet will continue to degrade other citizens.

    I agree with Mary Souza about Thaddeus. The Cda. Press should ban him as all he does is make degrading remarks about others.

     
  • Mary Souza posted at 2:17 pm on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    Mary Souza Posts: 808

    It sure would be nice if the Press removed the personal attacks of people like Thaddeus, who offer nothing to the conversation.

    That said, please remember that patrons in the School Districts pay for K-12 education, along with money from the State. The taxpayers of Kootenai County are responsible to pay for community college (NIC) education, along with the State. And the State of Idaho is supposed to fund the public 4 year colleges. Cities are not responsible to pay for any level of education.

     
  • idaholiberal posted at 11:02 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    idaholiberal Posts: 206

    Question: How does Twin Falls get 100 officers for $8.2 million, and we get 70 officers for $9.5?

     
  • Why Not posted at 10:54 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    Why Not Posts: 5020

    Stevie Stevie Stevie, Grow Up, put on your big boy pants and stop being such and obstinate bonehead. Oh and Wayne, stop pandering to power hungry nincompoops PLEASE…

    On Education, Steve doesn’t believe government should have a hand in protecting the values of All the citizens right to a good education. Well not unless they are teaching creation and telling kids baby’s are delivered by the stork.

     
  • sdpd92 posted at 10:41 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    sdpd92 Posts: 145

    I agree with Mr Adams. PAY FOR IT OURSELVES. While we need more police officers we should
    arrange our budget accordingly to pay for them. Getting “free” money from the federal government comes with too many strings. These budget gimmicks are only short term gigs anyway and then we have to find the money anyway to pay these officers. What else would we do, fire them? No of course not. We would budget accordingly.

    I personally think the police are doing a good job here in Coeur d’ Alene. Forget the ratio of 1 officer to 1000 citizens. Forget that in a big city like San Diego there are 1.65 officers to 1000 citizens. Some of the beats in San Diego are almost as large as all of Coeur d' Alene and still the response times are acceptable. In San Diego the response time averages about 6:30 per call. I can't seem to find the CDA stats on response times. However with the proper supervision the CDA Department appears to maintain a high level of professionalism that I wish translated to all the police departments around here. As long as everybody realizes the police do not stop crimes, they react after the fact. With that in mind the police are always going to “chase the radio”. While this department does not have a police to citizen ration of the large city police departments, for a sleepy little community like Coeur d’ Alene it appears adequate for now, look at the crime stats. Maybe as the economy improves the department should increase also. The city council is so concerned about getting us a new sports complex, that already has started cost over runs, maybe in the future those monies should go to our emergency services.

     
  • Cody Wiench posted at 9:49 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    Cody Wiench Posts: 353

    Let's not call him DR. No. When we call Ron Paul "Dr No", it is totally applicable since he has an MD. This clown possess no such advanced degree, so lets just call him Mr. No.

     
  • LTRLTR posted at 9:44 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    Randy, I am glad the community has higher education. Each of us has to live within our own budgets and the school should too.

    Yes, the cost of 2 police officers can be absorbed but only at the cost of another reduced service. $5,539,214 can pay for 74 police officers, but instead goes into beautifying a play ground for condo owners and enriching the pockets of downtown business owners that does not benefit equally the community as a whole.

    Steve Adams is staying true to his voters. How many times have we seen the other leaders stray away from their promises?

     
  • efromm posted at 9:07 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    efromm Posts: 689

    The real solution is for people to police themselves. With the residents acting like adults their would be no need for the police. Should that not be our goal? Should we not be getting better kinder gentler? Why is it that we need more police in this town? What has changed here so much? And how can we fix it. It's disgraceful to keep building a bigger jail and getting more cops. We are putting the nooses around our own necks. And giving up our power and freedom at the same time.

     
  • concernedcitizen posted at 8:44 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    Randy

    The federal government is as broke as everyone else. Where do you suppose that money comes from? There is no more absorption into other budgets. Cities, counties and even states are going bankrupt.

     
  • Randy Myers posted at 8:33 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    Randy Myers Posts: 1635

    The UI partnership with the City is of value to many students plus the community at large.

    As to the 2 police officers, their cost can be absorbed in 3 years by retirements or people leaving other departments. There are plenty of places to cut in the city budget yet.

    Steve Adams's view of the federal government is just not realistic. We ARE the federal government and there is no shame in using monies and opportunities that benefit our community. Many times if we don't use it we lose it when it comes to these funding opportunities. No sense cutting off our nose to spite our face.

     
  • LTRLTR posted at 8:09 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    Property taxes of $5,539,214 was given to local urban renewal instead of paying for city services. New growth creates a need for additional revenue but yet the City wants to give money to developers for pet projects instead. Just imagine what a safe city we could have if we added 74 police officers.

     
  • LTRLTR posted at 7:45 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    Why does local higher education have to accept welfare from the City of Coeur d'Alene?

     
  • LTRLTR posted at 7:44 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    ancientemplar: Once the Federal funding runs out the City will have to raise taxes and/or fees.

     
  • concernedcitizen posted at 7:41 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    JonUSMC

    Let us just say that each call requires just 1 hour of the officers time. Now ad in getting to and from. The problem is NOT our officers. It lye's solely on the backs of our self serving leaders.

    ancientemplar

    Great question. Great post as is yours too LTRLTR

     
  • LTRLTR posted at 7:41 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    Citizens: Mayor Bloem and Urban Renewal are now discussing forming another district on E. Sherman that will shift more property taxes into UR hands. The city's general fund is stretched now. When are you going to say "NO' to more urban renewall districts?

    Steve Adams is the only councilman that can see the writing on the wall. After 3-years the community will have to pay for the 2-police officers once Federal funding ends. Where will the new revenue come from to pay their wages?

    Sewer fees were increased once again to pay for sewer services. Those increased fees allow the City's Wastewater Department to rent Harbor Center to higher education for $10 per year. I agree with Councilman Adams that the City should not be in the education business.

     
  • ancientemplar posted at 7:35 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    ancientemplar Posts: 1268

    Who is going to pay for these patrol officers after the 3 years? Is the city going to lay these two off at the end of the period or raise taxes. In my estimation this is just a band aid fix.

    Let the LCDC fund the positions :>(

     
  • librtyhuntr posted at 7:30 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    librtyhuntr Posts: 317

    speeders downtown, really that's what your problem is. I think trying not to be beholden to the federal government is more of a problem maybe we have to start somewhere adams is doing what his campaign was about , and how about the education corridor they get a lease that cheap and the tuition keeps going up anyway whats wrong with that picture.

     
  • LTRLTR posted at 7:27 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    If urban renewal funding of $5,539,214 was returned to the general fund, the city could pay for 74 police officers.

     
  • JonUSMC posted at 7:23 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    JonUSMC Posts: 98

    Let's see, each officer averaged 1,321 calls per year last year. Working 5 days a week that should "average" to about 5.08 or so calls a day. They should be able to handle that standing on their heads!

     
  • Bob Loblaw posted at 7:20 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    Bob Loblaw Posts: 413

    Thank you, Mr. Adams, for having principles. Federal money always comes with strings attached. And it's only temporary. And sometimes it never comes at all, even when promised. Just say NO to more spending - respect the taxpayers.

     
  • concernedcitizen posted at 6:53 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    concernedcitizen Posts: 2530

    LMYCDA

    Boy $20 million, and going up, for a park would have paid a lot of police salaries don't you think? You are putting blame on the wrong person.

    Please read the article again. Steve DOES want officers but not through the standard method used by our inept leaders.


     
  • LMYCDA posted at 6:26 am on Tue, May 14, 2013.

    LMYCDA Posts: 2288

    Wow, Steve, so you don't care about stopping speeders, thanks for nothing Steve. We voted for you and wish we could take our vote back, you have not done anything you said you were going to do about helping to stop speeders in our downtown core. Our Police Department is totally understaffed and we do need two or more patrol officers. Steve, you certainly do not represent those that voted for you or our city.

     
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