IRON RIVER—During a City Council hearing May 15 on the proposed 2013-14 Iron River budget, most attention was centered on proposed cuts to the police department, with a total of three officers in mind.
Iron County Sheriff Mark Valesano said he was still concerned about the safety of the school, hospital and elderly in Iron River if the police budget is cut. “Public safety is a basic function of government,” he said.
One citizen asked if there was a way she could ask city residents if they would be willing to increase taxes to fund the police department so it wouldn’t have to be cut.
City Manager Perry Franzoi said that if taxpayers want to ask for an increase in taxes, they could petition the council for a ballot proposal that puts the question to city residents. However, he said, the city can’t increase its millage at all.
Councilman Arthur Sacheck spoke to why the proposed budget cuts are a necessity.
“The city of Iron River cannot financially fund everything any longer,” he said. “We can only afford three officers.”
Other city residents voiced concerns about increased vandalism and violence in Iron River if the police department is cut to three officers.
According to Franzoi’s report from the Michigan Incident Crime Reporting (MICR), the Iron River Police Department made 51 arrests and had a total of 279 reported offences during 2011.