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Letter: In Webster, a pricey police department

In Webster over the recent years there has been much discussion, debate and consternation about the local police department. Is it necessary, is it too small, too big, do we get the best value for our tax dollars, do we need a cruiser for each officer, should the officers take their cruiser home and on and on it goes.

A few years ago the town said we do not need such a large police department, and the budget was significantly reduced to reflect the will of the people at town meeting. Well, those cuts seem to have been recaptured by the selectmen. The part-time chief who was making approximately $30,000 annually three years ago has watched his salary balloon to over $51,000 annually – as a part-timer!

As a Webster resident who has seen his taxes increase more than 30 percent in six years, I find it unconscionable that while everyone else is tightening their belts, a town of 1,800 residents, with no real businesses in town, requires a police department that consumes approximately 35 percent of the town’s total budget. Webster residents have a decision to make in a few weeks. The police department serves a vital role in our community and I support its role, but is this the one Webster really needs or can afford?

BUTCH THORNTON

Webster

Well I think the author of this article is a little out of his realm. The idea that the Police Budget is 35 % of the Town's budget is a far stretch. It is 18.2% of the total town budget. Lets be truthful why your taxes have increased so much! I think if the whole truth was in this article I would not be writing a rebuttal. You have expanded your property over the last 6 years and never claimed any improvements on the yearly form. Sure if you don't submit the form you only pay a $50.00 fine, that is cheaper then the tax hike right? That is why your taxes have gone up!

I am also a Webster resident and have been in emergency services for 15 years. I do feel that it is important that we have a Police department, and that if is managed by a Police Chief. However i do not feel that we need a new patrol car, nor do we need all three officers driving their cars home. If they are the one on call then sure drive it home, but why should we be paying the gas for all three of them to commute to work ? Do they all reside in Webster? If so then that may not be so bad. Most of all if Webster only has Three Police officers why do we need to pay one of them to be a Lieutenant? Does Webster really need a Lieutenant to manage one officer? Cant the Chief manage Two officers? and save our tax dollars by not paying the higher Salary for a Lieutenant? Food for thought Webster.

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