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Letter - City needs to tighten budget on law enforcement in SL

To the editor,
I’m a citizen of Silver Lake for the last 48 years and have lived in the Silver Lake area my whole 69 years. I can’t believe the council of Silver Lake does not try to save any money for us taxpayers of Silver Lake.
When I tell people from other towns what I pay, about $2,300 in real estate taxes, they say, what? That much is ridiculous. About $1,200 of my taxes goes to the city.
I live in an over 100-year-old building. The city of Silver Lake has a chance to save us taxpayers maybe a couple of hundred dollars per household if they would work a deal with the county on police patrolling of Silver Lake.
Right now, we are paying about $650 a day to have our own police force. They are paid for 80 hours, but between office time and highway time, they probably patrol the streets of Silver Lake about two hours a day. I’m sure we could save a lot of money and have our streets patrolled two to four hours a day, 14 to 28 hours a week. Response time would be the same or quicker because there would be county patrols on duty 24 hours a day. Our police need to wait for backup on lots of calls. When not on duty, they need to get dressed and get to the call.
We also can’t keep our police officers for a very long time before they move on. We would have to raise their pay a lot to maybe keep them longer, which means paying $800 a day or more.
We pay approximately $250,000 a year for the police. Stewart contracts with the county for 40 hours of patrol time and pay less than $120,000. We could stipulate to the county we would like to see a patrol around the 9 to 10 p.m. hour when businesses are closing on Highway 7. There’re very few towns our size that have a police force for very good reason. It costs way too much and there’s no drop in service without your own police force.
We need to let the council know to tighten the budget since other charges keep going up.
Clarence Mikolichek,
Silver Lake