Recently I listened to Ray Schneiders, spokesman for the San Gabriel Police Officers Assn., talk about the material demands he would like to place in the police budget.
The police chief gets approximately $2.5 million to run the department. He must use the money to the best advantage of the entire department. The city also has a budget. If it increases the police budget, it must cut from parks and recreation, and maybe our kids won't have after-school programs. Or maybe it's the Fire Department that gets less money and we let the ambulance drivers contract with a private firm. Or maybe we don't maintain our streets and let some more of the street crew go.
The point I am trying to make is there is only so much money to go around. Our city desperately needs more money to offer the Police Officers Assn. the proper equipment to do its jobs as safely as possible.
Cities get their funding in four different ways: property taxes, special revenue sharing like Prop. E and the gasoline tax, and from investments of reserve funds. A city's share of the property tax is only $100 per $1,000 of actual property tax dollars collected and the only way it can be increased is by a vote of the people. Prop. E and gasoline tax revenue are allocated by law for use for transportation and road work. Sales tax revenue in San Gabriel is declining due to stringent controls on new construction. The only hope we have to increase the budget for police, fire and all other city services is sales tax revenue.