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Carnation goes to county for cops; Half-million-dollar deal gets city one full-timer, shared coverage

Lean times for the city of Carnation have led to a cut in police services for 2014, but also a small bit of good news. Thanks to cost savings from the reduced police contract, Carnation residents won't be asked to pay an additional $20 fee for car tabs next year.

Carnation's City Council on Dec. 3 approved a $500,000 police contract with the King County Sheriff's Office, for one full-time officer in the city, plus shared-patrol coverage during the officer's off hours.

The new contract comes in at about $20,000 less than was originally budgeted for the year, and the city council chose to use those savings rather than pursue the car tab fee for additional city revenue, Carnation City Manager Ken Carter said.

“The council was able to eliminate the car tab fee… because we were trying to get up to $520,000 for police,” Carter said, which was the amount Duvall, currently providing police services to Carnation, had proposed earlier this year to extend the contract. Carter had budgeted that amount, but was able to reduce it after Duvall abruptly ended negotiations for a new contract in September, and the city turned to the Sheriff’s Department.

Carnation previously contracted with King County for police services, but had partnered with Duvall since late 2004.

The new contract, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2014, represents a reduced level of service from the current half-time coverage in Carnation. However, the city will have its own dedicated officer, working a varied schedule to provide broad coverage. When its officer is off-duty, Carnation will be part of the sheriff’s shared patrol district, covered by six deputies in the east King County area, and calls will be answered according to their significance.

“For example, if you’ve got an armed robbery in progress, then everybody comes,” Carter said. Less urgent incidents, such as reporting a theft, will be addressed as officers are available.

King County is currently selecting Carnation’s new officer, who will be in place before the city’s current police contract with Duvall expires.

Termination of the Duvall contract also made Carnation forge new contracts for prosecuting and public defense attorneys, and for jail services. The city had been using the same providers that Duvall used during their partnership, although paying for them separately Carter said.

At the Dec. 10 Carnation City Council meeting, the council approved contracts with Lynn Moberly for prosecution, with Valley Defenders for public defenders, and with the Issaquah Jail for jail services.

The costs came in slightly lower than expected, Carter said. The city has budgeted $24,600 for prosecution, $12,700 for public defenders, and $39,000 for jail.

Carnation will also see about $12,000 in additional revenue in 2014, from a previously approved utility tax increase for cable TV services. The city doubled the tax, from 3 percent, to 6 percent, for Carnation residents. Other impacts to the $1.1 million budget included the loss of one public works staff member, who resigned last fall and won't be replaced, a 5 percent increase to water rates, and reduced office hours at City Hall, a continuation of the last several years' operations. For 2014, City Hall hours will remain 9:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9:30 to 2:30 p.m. Friday.

 

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