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Negotiations bring changes in police contract

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NORTH BEND - In an effort to receive the best police services in a tight budget year, city officials are pursuing a more modified contract with the King County Sheriff's Office than one suggested last month.

The major change, said City Administrator George Martinez at a Sept. 30 City Council meeting, will be the city not hiring an additional full-time deputy to patrol the streets, but rather allocating $50,000 for what is expected to be about 1,000 hours of overtime to use at the discretion of the police chief. Martinez added that the city will continue to push to increase the police chief position from part time to full time, which also will increase the amount of deputy time within city limits. North Bend currently utilizes a contract that has a part-time chief and one officer patrolling the city limits 24 hours a day.

The decision to not add another full-time officer came about because the overtime solution is more cost effective, Martinez said.

North Bend will save money, he said, because it will not have to pay for the insurance, overhead and retirement costs associated with a new full-time deputy. The situation also is beneficial because the police chief, or city officials, can "pick and choose" when those hours are to be used. The contract is expected to cost the city about $882,000 compared to the $761,000 paid in 2003.

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