Editorial: Back to the table
February 19, 2011
The Craig Police Department potentially leaving the Moffat County Public Safety Center due to a continued stalemate between the city and county is contrary to public good. The two governments need to stop the bickering and posturing and reach an agreement that’s best for taxpayers.
It's clear voters were wise and proactive 10 years ago when they chose to place the community's three law enforcement agencies under the same roof.
There is no disputing the Moffat County Public Safety Center is one of the biggest assets our community has in both the relationship it fosters and partnership it forms between the agencies.
But, what voters wanted then is now threatened thanks to stalled negotiations between the Craig City Council and Moffat County Commission — our community's most prominent governing bodies — regarding the facility's future.
The Editorial Board's wish is no different than that of voters — law enforcement agencies are at their best when roommates.
The stalemate between the city and county on the Craig Police Department's lease of the safety center is starting to appear childish and our elected officials ineffective, board members contend.
After months of negotiations, it seems our two governments are even more divided about what a fair price for the space should be. We need better — not more — discussion about this issue.
However, it seems instead of continuing to hash it out in hopes of a fair resolution, the two sides are intent on diverging.
The commission requested a two-month break from negotiations, and the city council is using that hiatus to explore building a new police station.
These developments are amateurish and accomplish nothing but increasing the chances our law enforcement agencies divorce from one another come later this summer, when the current lease expires.
The Editorial Board understands both sides believe they are acting in the best interest of their respective taxpayers, but momentum is building toward a resolution contrary to public benefit.
We also wonder what the county would do with the spare space at the safety center if the police department moves out. Who would rent the space? Anyone?
Using the numbers in the last round of talks, the two sides are separated by $346,880.
While that figure is substantial, especially considering it belongs to neither side but instead the public, it isn't as big of an obstacle as the two sides are making it out to be.
The Editorial Board says meet in the middle — $173,440 — and get this deal done.
That way each sides wins a little without losing too much — face included — and this problem doesn't become bigger than it's already been, eroding the public's confidence in our elected officials even more.
This negotiation is critical for the relationship our two governments will have in the future, and more importantly, imperative to law enforcement agencies accomplishing their primary responsibilities — protecting and serving the public.
That task — serving the public — hasn't been a big talking point so far.
With all the chatter about dollar figures and the constant grapple for the upper hand, the Editorial Board wonders if that end goal is lost on our elected officials.
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