City leaders consider shrinking Waverly Police Department - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

City leaders consider shrinking Waverly Police Department while balancing budget

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WAVERLY (KWWL) -

Balancing the budget can be a tough decision for many cities in Iowa this time of year, especially when trying to keep city services running smoothly and efficiently.

In Waverly, city leaders have been trying to decide whether the city should shrink the police department's staffing requirements to save money.

"Investing in public safety is one of our highest priorities," said City Administrator Phil Jones.

The Waverly Police Department currently has 15 police officers, but it's budgeted for 16.

But city leaders aren't sure if the vacant spot will be filled after Mayor Bob Brunkhorst and members of the city council decided to re-evaluate whether 16 officers are needed in Waverly.

Brunkhorst said he didn't have time for an interview Saturday. But in a phone conversation with KWWL's Shelley Russell on Friday, Brunkhorst said he's concerned the City would not be able to afford the officer long term.

However Jones said based on numbers from the finance department, he's confident that wouldn't be the case.

Jones said he hopes folks in Waverly weigh out how important public safety is for their community.

He said current staffing requirements allow a minimum of two officers on the street at all times, and added that Waverly is already below statewide averages for police officers in specific populations.

According to Jones, if city council members vote to approve a lowering of staffing requirements with the police department, homeowners in Waverly could potentially save about $18 in property taxes.

City council members will hold a public hearing Monday, March 4th at City Hall beginning at 7:00 PM. Jones said council members are expected to decide whether to lower the staffing requirements for the Waverly Police Department during that meeting as well.

"It's not going to be an easy decision to make, and we know that whatever the decision is, we'll be able to work with it and move forward," said Jones.

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