My concern is the general fund of the City of Rockaway Beach.
I think I am qualified to have an educated opinion. I was first elected to the Rockaway Beach City Council in 1977 and served for 30-plus years. I also served as Mayor and currently am a member of the Budget Committee. My concern is the Police Department. At this time, the Police Department has 45 percent of the general fund. In the last seven years, the Police Department budget has grown from $315,000 to $624,402. Last June, the Police Department had to have approximately $20,000 supplemental budget because they had overspent on overtime and wages. At the same time, the Chief spent $1,700 on custom wheels and tires for his police car. Now the Chief is advertising for a fifth officer at a salary of $4,700 per month. The true cost, with benefits, is $7,112.59 per month. The population of the City of Rockaway Beach has stayed at approximately 1,300 for about the last 30 years. The City of Hillsboro has a population of 90,000 people and 120 police personnel total. That is one policeman for every 750 people. The City of Rockaway Beach has five policemen, which is one policeman for every 260 people. Every other police chief in Tillamook County does regular patrols. Ours does not.
Every other department that depends on the General Fund is getting short changed. The Fire Department gets only 9 percent of the General Fund, for example. Fire is an essential service that effects all the population of the City, including fire insurance rates and public safety. The Rockaway Beach City Fire Department is also in need of a new building.
In my opinion, the City Manager and the City Council need to take control of the Police Department.