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COUNCIL DATE 3/31/09 5G AGENDA ITEM

CITY COUNCIL MEETING Olympia, Washington March 31, 2009

2009 COPS Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP) Grant Application
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CITY MANAGER’S RECOMMENDATION: Option 1: Move to authorize staff to apply for a COPS Hiring Recovery Program grant to rehire the police officer position eliminated in the 2009 budget. ___________________________________________________________________________________ Dick Machlan, Police Administrative Services Manager, 360-753-8006, dmachlan@ci.olympia.wa.us Police Department N/A 1. CHRP program narrative

STAFF CONTACT:

ORIGINATED BY: OTHERS NOTIFIED: ATTACHMENTS: BUDGET IMPACT/ SOURCE OF FUNDS:

The City would receive $235,749 in funds from the COPS Hiring Recovery Program over a three year period. The City would be required to pay about $17,608 in cost of living increases and pay step raises over the three years. In addition, the City would commit to retaining the position at its own expense for at least one year after the grant ends at a cost of about $98,137.

PRIOR COUNCIL/ COMMITTEE REVIEW:

None

BACKGROUND:

The COPS Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP) is funded through the Federal stimulus package and is designed to assist local jurisdictions in the following three ways: 1) to replace police officer positions that have been eliminated due to necessary budget cuts; 2) to avert future layoffs of police officers; and/or 3) to add officers to assist in reaching community policing objectives. CHRP funding is available over a three year period, after which the jurisdictions receiving funds are expected to retain any officers funded through the Program for at least one additional year. CHRP will pay the equivalent of an entry-level police officer’s salary and benefits during each of the three years of grant funding. The City is responsible for paying costs above and beyond the base salary and benefits (including cost of living adjustments, pay step increases and equipment) during the first three years and the full cost of the officer for one additional year after the grant ends.

ANALYSIS AND OPTIONS:

The COPS Hiring Recovery Program provides money to hire officers for the purposes cited. There is no limit on how many positions the City could request through CHRP. However, as with all hiring grants, care needs to be given in deciding how many positions to request to assure that we don’t either overextend ourselves in the future or put ourselves in a position where we’re unable to meet the obligations of the grant. In the case of CHRP, for each position requested, the City is required to assume a financial burden of $6,619 in the second year of the grant; $10,989 in the third year of the grant; and $98,137 in the year after the grant ends – for a total commitment of $115,745 over four years. (NOTE: These figures assume the current contracted minimum COLAs, the current benefit rate, and the current pay step intervals.) Council has the option to apply for more than one position through CHRP. However, taking that course will obligate the City to provide a considerable amount of local funding over a four-year period. If the economy were to make major improvements during the course of the grant, using this opportunity to hire additional positions could be an excellent way to get early assistance in paying for police positions needed to respond to community growth. However, there are certainly no guarantees that a strong enough economic recovery will occur during the next three years to assure that a decision to hire multiple positions through CHRP will prove to be a wise one. It seems prudent at this point to use the CHRP funding opportunity to just replace what we’ve lost. In the 2009 budget, the City eliminated one police officer position, reducing the Department’s commissioned strength from 68 to 67 officers. While this manifested itself as no longer being able to deploy a detective to the regional narcotics task force, the actual position loss was an entry-level police officer position. Electing to ask for one position through CHRP would permit us to reinstate the eliminated position and return to 2008 service levels for at least four years while not putting us in a position where we are dependent on a big improvement in economic climate in order to meet our financial obligations to CHRP. The CHRP application itself is “on-line,” so it cannot be provided directly to Council for review. However, the attachment included with the staff report describes the City’s community policing strategy and our rationale for requesting the one position we’re suggesting be funded. The grant application must be submitted by April 14, 2009. Any changes to the staff recommendation will need to be made without delay and will not be able to be reviewed by Council, given that Council is not meeting again until the grant application due date.

Option 1:

Move to authorize staff to apply for a COPS Hiring Recovery Program grant to rehire the police officer position eliminated in the 2009 budget. Implications: 1. Helps maintain 2008 police service levels by restoring the Police Department’s commissioned staff strength back to 68 officers for at least four years.

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2. Has no substantial local cost to the City until the year after the grant ends. Option 2: Elect not to apply for a COPS Hiring Recovery Program grant. Implications: 1. Does not take advantage of a readily available funding resource for restoring a lost public safety position.

Option 3:

Direct staff to prepare a COPS Hiring Recovery Program grant for additional officer positions. Implications: 1. Allows police services to respond better to community growth for at least the next four years, and potentially thereafter. 2. Requires the City to commit more resources over the grant period and the year thereafter. 3. Could prove to be a brilliant decision if the economy improves substantially or a significant financial burden if it doesn’t.

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