Residents speak out at Councilman Weiner's meeting to consider increasing size of public safety department - Delaforum.com
Residents will have to decide whether they want a larger police force or to maintain other public services at at least current levels, according to county officials.
As Council prepares to vote on whether to approve the first step in a $37.5 million five-year plan to significantly increase authorized personnel strength of the force and the compliment which mans the 9-1-1 emergency call center, about 50 people who turned out on Oct. 27 for a meeting called by Councilman Robert Weiner took aim at parks and libraries, the runners-up in the levels of government spending. Chief administrative officer Jeffrey Bullock told the meeting that a series of 'listening sessions' will be held soon in an effort to gauge public feeling as the administration plans a budget for the next fiscal year.
"The county must cut services," said Charles Landry, president of the Council of Civic Organizations of Brandywine Hundred. Council members must "say no to those people who don't want to see their [favorite] services cut," he added. Consensus of other attenders appeared to be support for more spending on public safety, but against a tax increase to pay for it. Police chief Rick Gregory acknowledged that the present economic crisis is hardly an appropriate time to ask for more money, but presented data indicating the force is steadily falling behind in its ability to cope with the growth of crime in suburban neighborhoods.
The Council vote could come as soon as its Oct. 28 session unless sentiment among those members who favor delaying it at least a month to get further community reaction prevails.
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