To the citizens of Republic,
I want to reach out to each citizen of Republic in an attempt to dispel many of the myths lingering throughout this community. Republic received a new administration this year. At the top of their agenda is to reduce government. To accomplish this, they started with several pieces of legislation that makes the chief of police part time. Soon after, they sent a letter to each resident explaining their goals and what they have accomplished thus far.
In this letter, they used the population of the community as their basis to reduce staffing. Population should only be a starting point. The needs of the community should dictate service. They say most towns this size don't have half the staff. This may be true, but most towns this size don't have their own electric, water and sewer service along with the land mass and four state routes.
They used the police department as an example and an attempt to exploit the department's services. We did have five part-time officers. Part-time officers work full-time jobs and can't work every weekend. It takes several part-time staff members to fill vacant positions. We also had a captain and two sergeants. These officers work full time at other police departments and they didn't need this job. They donated a lot of their services and, in return, they received the classification of rank to help them in their career. They helped us; we didn't do much for them. The number of officers didn't change the number of hours the department covers or the cost.
Saving money is a priority, but not always paramount to service. The prior administration had the same goals of reducing cost. Its approach was to save money, but not compromise service. It aggressively made changes to accomplish this goal. It had to stabilize funds, reduce cost and maintain service. This is difficult, but it was on the right track. Council was faced with a difficult situation with the utility funds. The electric and street funds were the only funds that gained revenue each year. The water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer were losing money each year. Storm had one-year sustainability, water had two-year sustainability and sanitary had six-year sustainability. The suggested reserve in the electric was $50,000 short and was receiving almost $15,000 per year from the general fund.
The water rates were suggested to be increased by more than 110 percent and the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggested a $2 increase in the monthly debt charge. Your council did not want to do any of this. It took immediate action by increasing the debt $1 and promoting me to assistant village administrator. This was not because the administrator was not qualified; it was simply to help in the financial aspect of those funds. Council had seen how I was able to improve police services while reducing cost.
This move allowed for more coverage of officers, which not only provided police protection, but also first responder service for medical necessity. We evaluated costs, procedures, policies and safety. Each was addressed promptly. Ultimately, we were able to reduce the water rate increase dramatically. In 2011, even with part of my wages being paid from the utilities, along with the purchase of a truck, unemployment being paid and stopping the $15,000 general fund transfer, we saved $27,000 in the utility funds. The electric fund had the proper reserve of $150,000 with average revenue of more than $6,000. Each fund had revenue as listed: streets, $10,162; water, $1,917.25; sanitary, $17,065; and storm, $16,407.
As many know, every community took a large loss in revenue through local government funding. Republic had less than $5,000 of carryover in the general fund each year before the cuts in LGF. This looked grim for the village, as there was little carryover before. During the time that we were saving the utility funds, the general fund lost 50 percent of its revenue. We were able to stop the payments made to the utility funds. Republic had the largest carryover in 2011 than ever before. This year's rollover exceeded $75,000 in the village general fund. This would pay for the police department, as it stands, for almost three years.
Although many disagreed with council's decision in promoting me, there can be no argument that it worked. The funds are more stable and there is money building to improve the systems. There were no rates increased due to me being part paid from these funds nor would there ever have been.
There was an audit conducted in the village of Republic and they found nothing wrong with what was done. This was not a tactic to supplement the police fund. I did the work and was justifiably paid for the service. In fact, many communities have a chief of police who is also the village administrator. They get two services for the price of one. This is just another creative way of improving service with less money, as we have done. The prior administration was able to save far more without sacrificing service.
I would like to thank the village of Republic for allowing me serve your community since 2003 and entrusting me to lead your police department since 2006. We have stood together through many trials and tribulations. I have not always made the right decisions, but all were made in the best interest of this community. I am confident I provided the best service I could. Working close with administration, the community, area law enforcement, courts and various public officials, we have made this community a better place to live. I am proud of what we accomplished. I will always be thankful for the opportunity you have given me. The village council has eliminated my position. A part-time position is not conducive to my career; therefore, my employment with the village of republic has come to an end.
Again, thank you for giving me this opportunity. I hope nothing but the best for this community.