Stone County Judge Stacy Avey and Mountain View Mayor Roger Gardner were riding together a few months ago to a meeting at the White River Planning and Development in Batesville.
On the way, law enforcement came up in their conversation. Mountain View is currently spending between $700,000 and $800,000 a year on its police force. Put that total with the county and together, both are spending roughly $1.6 million on law enforcement.
A question arose in the conversation between the county judge and the mayor as to what it would cost for the county to provide law enforcement for the city of Mountain View through an interlocal agreement. Avey studied the thought, got input from the Stone County Sheriff Lance Bonds, and then put a pencil to it.
When Avey finished, he said the county could provide law enforcement for Mountain View for $375,000 a year.
Gardner said Monday that the city has 14 officers — that is, if you count school resource officers (SRO) which only work at Stone County schools for the safety of students and school staff.
Judge Avey said the county could take several of the city’s law enforcement personnel to provide that coverage for the city and said to provide one police officer working at all times — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks of the year — it would take five officers.
He noted you have to count for downtime like vacation time, sick time, court appearances and more and that the county would also need the dispatcher, part-time dispatcher, and the officer who works the sex-offender division.
By the time you subtract SROs and the officers the county will need, it would only leave three or four personnel.
The mayor said he doesn’t want to see anyone lose their job, and he would work to use those three or four employees in various areas of the city such as planning and zoning; animal control; city streets; parks; etc.
Judge Avey and Mayor Gardner said they would be at tonight’s Mountain View City Council meeting to provide information and answer questions. After all, they said, the city council will make the final decision.
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