Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Police Cuts

When I wrote earlier this week that police employees have not borne any of the costs associated with the lower tax revenue, I was wrong.

  • The dependent coverage costs for police employees have risen by 40%. The city used to cover 75% and now they cover only 65%, a 40% out of pocket increase for the employees.

  • The city is now charging a zone rate for take home cars, I don't have the exact figures but the point is that the police employees are now paying out of pocket for a benefit that used to be cost free, a net salary reduction when there are no raises.

  • A change in Florida Retirement System at the state level has meant another 3% of the individual's salary is now taken out, with no offsetting raise.

For the rank and file, this is a lot of coin. It's a layout of several hundred dollars a month more on average for people who have not seen a raise in four years or so.

I've written before that I hate it when I'm wrong, and I was wrong about this.

My larger point is that the police department as a whole in North Bay Village continues to increase spending, some of it disguised spending by accounting tricks. Legal services is taking the budget hit for ill advised labor policies and the Law Enforcement Trust Fund is being used to cover routine operations costs, so the numbers are not instantly obvious.

The cops on the street in North Bay Village put up with a lot. Our government is dysfunctional. The union battles have created an atmosphere of insecurity. Management has been arbitrary and discipline unevenly applied. We residents can be pretty demanding.

What they don't need is one more person, me, adding fuel to the fire of anti police sentiment. Especially when it's not true.

The misstatement was not intentional and I apologize.

But I will continue to talk about the out of control spending by the department management and the climate of unease that has been created in the police department by the selective targeting of unpopular individuals - note the plural.

Our city and our police force deserve better.

Kevin Vericker
July 27, 2011

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