October 5, 2016

Council addresses city policing issue

By Annette Tait
The Center City Council’s response to a routine report from Sheriff’s Deputy James Christoff during its October meeting was anything but routine, at least in light of recent council discussion of the policing contract.
Christoff had no outstanding items to report, and offered to answer any questions council members might have about the monthly calls for service report submitted by his department. There were a few questions about junk vehicles, and Christoff advised there is a parked trailer in violation of city ordinance. He noted the department is up-to-date on junk vehicles, and that additional vehicles should be reported to the Sheriff’s Department.
Even though council is satisfied with junk vehicle cleanup, the contract between the City of Center and Oliver County for city policing by the Oliver County Sheriff’s Department has come under fire in recent months. Council has questioned the costs of the contract and the county’s requests for an increase above the standard 4 percent annual increase built into the contract, even though the contract also allows for increase above the standard 4 percent if Sheriff’s Department expenses warrant. Discussions have become heated at times, with council covering information about how other cities handle the policing issue, their costs, and the City of Center’s limited budget.
Monday evening, however, Council Member J.D. Hanson spoke up to address the proverbial elephant in the room.

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