Ephraim budget will include funding for new full-time police officer
By James Tilson
E P H R A I M — T h e Ephraim council approved the 2019-2020 budget for the city, at a total of $5,004,604, although council members expressed disappointment over lack of public input during the budget process.
The city’s new budget had been proposed last month, and had been discussed during a work meeting, and a public hearing was posted for last Wednesday. However, no one from the public attended any of the meetings.
“I’m saddened by the lack of public attendance tonight,” said Councilman John Scott. His sentiment was echoed by the council and the mayor. “People want things done, but they don’t want to do anything about it,” said Councilman Richard Wheeler.
Next year’s budget of $5,004,604 is only slightly larger than last year’s (20182019) budget of $4,965,695, although it is expected to have an additional $90,000 in sales tax revenue.
One of the new expenditures in next year’s budget will be funding for a new full-time police officer. Police Chief Aaron Broomhead explained his department had enough officers to cover their shifts, but could not make allowance for any time off, such as when an officer would get sick.
Scott agreed with Broomhead’s assessment. “We have officers covering each other, but we’re wearing them out,” he said.
Wheeler noted the city has been working hard to get its police department back to an acceptable manpower level, but will have to address manpower needs in other departments in the not-too-distant future. “The other departments have been very understanding in waiting for improvements,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler also opined the city was operating very close to its margin, and could not afford any loss in revenue. “This is a fiscally responsible budget for our situation. But we as a council must exercise due diligence in the future to not agree to any new projects unless it is absolutely necessary.”