Wide difference in village police costs
A comparison of Luck, Frederic, Siren, Webster, Grantsburg
Gregg Westigard | Staff writer
POLK/BURNETT COUNTIES – There is a wide range in the cost of village police departments. A look at the 2014 police personnel budget for five villages in Burnett and northern Polk counties shows the yearly expense varies from $218 per resident in Siren and Webster to $88 per resident in Frederic. The yearly cost for Luck residents is $147, and for Grantsburg the cost is $208. The figures in this story are taken from the most current 2014 proposed budgets for the five villages and include all personnel expenses, wages and benefits, for full- and part-time officers. Department operating expenses such as vehicle costs are excluded.
Village 2010 population 2014 police personnel budget Per resident
Grantsburg 1,341 $279,212 $208
Siren 806 $175,709 $218
Webster 653 $141,488 $217
Frederic 1,137 $98,588 $88
Luck 1,110 $163,588 $147
The budgets for operating and other expenses also vary, but a quick review of the detailed budget figure show that items such as the purchase of police vehicles, not a yearly cost, can skew the figures.
Every municipality publishes a summary budget that includes a line, public safety. That category also includes fire and ambulance services. The detailed line item budgets must be reviewed to identify police department costs.
Villages have higher expenses than their neighboring town governments. A review of the allocation of property taxes in Polk County showed that village taxes take from 25–38 percent of the total property tax bill while town residents pay from 9–17 percent for their local governments. One difference in the cost of local government is police services, which are covered by the sheriff’s department in rural areas. Village residents get that service plus the additional coverage of their own police department.
The Frederic Village clerk told the Leader that the village made a deep cut in police expenses a few years ago. She said the village has not heard complaints about the level of police services.