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Tuesday, Jan 29 2013 12:03 AM

Stallion Springs considers police tax

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Stallion Springs Police Chief Brad Burris (left) and Sgt. Mike Grant review staffing needs with the Stallion Springs Community Services District Board of Directors. Photo By Ed Gordon /Tehachapi News

The Stallion Springs Police Department would like additional officers to protect the district and will be asking property owners to pick up the tab.

At its January meeting, the Stallion Springs Community Service District Board of Directors listened closely as Sergeant Mike Grant gave a brief presentation showing the increase in police service calls and officer initiated incidents in the area over the past year.

A board-appointed law enforcement committee assembled to evaluate the need for additional funding for officers recently recommended a $120 per parcel per year police tax that Grant said would fund two additional full-time officers.

Currently the district has a police chief and two full time officers.

As in other communities, Assembly Bill 109 -- the State's Prison Realignment Act -- has played a significant role in an increase in crime in the community, and with that, increased overtime and fatigue, as well as a decrease in the level of officer safety, Grant said.

The board voted to direct staff to move forward with public meetings and file the necessary paperwork to initiate a Proposition 218 ballot vote in June, allowing taxpayers the right to approve or reject the tax increase.

Sewer rate increase

The board also approved a resolution to set a public hearing on tiered increases to the sewer rates in the district to help offset the rising expenses of the wastewater treatment plant.

General Manager Mary Beth Garrison explained the increases in operation costs were in large part related to the operation by state mandates for testing.

An ad hoc committee recommended residential increases of $5 per month in 2013, $4 per month in 2014 and $3 per month in 2015.

Similar increases were recommended for commercial customers.

Other items

Also on the agenda was the presentation of the 2011-2012 fiscal year audit.

Paul Kaymarker of Charles Z. Fedak and Company, who performed the audit, said that the community is good condition and being well managed.

He did however warn the board the wastewater account was hemorrhaging cash.

"To make this fund economically viable certain things need to happen within this fund this year," he said. "It needs to rebuild."

Finally, the Stallion Springs Community Service District unanimously elected Susan Mueller as president and David Burt as vice president for 2013.

Outgoing president Sandy Young was thanked for her four years of service.

"We think you've done a wonderful job," Garrison said. "Your commitment and your dedication to the community of Stallion Springs is really wonderful."

Police Chief Brad Burris also weighed in.

"On behalf of the staff, Sandy has been the steady hand on the boat that has kept us going in the right direction," he said. "Without your leadership, your friendship, and your love for this community who knows where we would have ended up. Thank you for your service."

The next board meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., Feb. 19, at the Stallion Springs CSD offices.

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