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Section A: General News


Police chief asks Poth council for more money, officers


Police chief asks Poth council for more money, officers
WILLIAM J. GIBBS JR. — Poth Police Chief Lowell Hull (left), City Engineer Dean Bayer (second from right), and Municipal Judge Hilda Tejada listen as financial advisor Travis Pruski reviews Poth’s proposed 2014-15 municipal budget during a July 29 workshop session.


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Wilson County News
August 6, 2014
3,360 views
10 comments

Chief Lowell Hull of the Poth Police Department is seeking additional funding for the upcoming fiscal year so that he might hire additional officers and increase the salaries of those currently working within the four-man department. Hull presented his request July 29 during a Poth City Council budget workshop.

The officers, all of whom are salaried, work 9-hour shifts, Hull said. Because he is unable to have the officers work more than 40 hours, the chief said there are times when there are no city policemen on duty. In those instances, Wilson County sheriff’s deputies respond to calls within the city of approximately 2,000 residents. Ideally, Hull said he wants 2-1/2 additional full-time-equivalent officers. He also is looking at ways he could realign shifts to increase coverage.

“It’s getting busier,” Hull said. “The calls are coming in more. I just want to get a jump on it before it gets too bad.”

Hull also would like his officers to be paid more. The department’s lowest-paid officer, a patrolman who has been with the department for approximately five years, earns $26,500 per year. In Nixon -- a city comparable in size to Poth, where the police department has five full-time officers -- Hull said the starting annual salary is $31,000.

According to Laura LeBlanc, spokesman for the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, there are no definitive guidelines related to staffing levels for police agencies. She also said her agency does not keep salary data for departments within the state. Executive Director Kevin Lawrence of the Texas Municipal Policing Association said cities should consider population, transient population, calls for service, and access to other available resources -- such as sheriff’s deputies and state troopers -- when determining adequate staffing levels.

With regard to salaries, Lawrence said, “You should look at the market in which you are competing in order to attract and retain qualified personnel.”

Financing law-enforcement operations is just part of the city’s 2014-15 budget. As of the close of the workshop, the council and financial advisor Travis Pruski surmised that it will take $909,060 to fund water, sewer, and refuse operations.

Water and sewer fees will undergo some changes. Specifically, connection fees for new construction are set to see a $700 increase for each. Those wishing to access municipal service for new homes would pay $2,500.

This continues to outpace fees in the larger nearby city of Floresville, where one can connect a new water meter for $1,350 and a new sewer line for $1,500.

Current users will see changes to their bills. For water, Pruski said, the city proposes changing the minimum usage from 3,000 gallons to 2,000 gallons. For each additional 1,000 gallons of water used in a month, residents would pay $2.55.

Base sewer fees will increase by 3 percent, or 56 cents, to $18.72, said City Secretary Rose Huizar. In addition to the base fee, residents already pay an additional $1.29 per 1,000 gallons, multiplied by the average usage during the months of November, December, and January, she said.

The council predicts it will cost an additional $620,180 to pay for government functions under Poth’s general fund -- which includes items such as administration, municipal court, and police.

The council anticipates supporting the budget with an ad valorem tax rate of 25.3 cents per $100 of taxable value -- a penny less than last year’s rate. Assuming Poth collects 95 percent of its total levy, the city estimates collecting $208,430.21 in tax revenue to support the general fund.
 

Your Opinions and Comments

 
Chief Noetall  
Wise, Texas  
August 13, 2014 12:43pm
 
Grouchy and Squawky .... Tonto say beware fat chief and judge with baseball hat inside teepee. Kemo sabe.

 
The Marcelina Muse  
Dry Tank, TX  
August 13, 2014 12:20pm
 
Well since the IRS violates the Public Information Act why can't the Poth police chief? This guy is Poth's answer to Eric Holder.

 
Publius Valerius Publicola  
Rome, Tx.  
August 13, 2014 12:17pm
 
I heard a rumor that this chief is kinda like Obama in that he thinks nothing of ignoring established law - you know - like the Public Information Act. He is exempt from those kinds of things. Be very careful, this is a dangerous ... More ›

 
The Marcelina Muse  
Dry Tank, TX  
August 13, 2014 12:13pm
 
Grouch and squawk next time you are in Poth the chief will interrupt his meetings and personally give you a citation - for something. You cannot criticize authority, you cannot fight bureaucracy. Just who do you think you are?

 
squawk box  
Pandora, Tx  
August 13, 2014 8:12am
 
Has the Chief forgotten about the concept of a working supervisor ? Any entity with only four workers is already overly managed so the Chief should have ample time to pull some shifts during the week.

 
PRAIRIE GROUCH  
GRAND PRAIRIE TX  
August 13, 2014 4:54am
 
Perhaps the Chief can provide the section of the Fair Labor Standards Act that prohibits 'salaried' workers from working more than a forty hour week. There are many salaried workers in he private section that routinely ... More ›

 
Publius Valerius Publicola  
Rome, Tx.  
August 12, 2014 12:55pm
 
Just heard from a fairly reliable source that Bandera hired a retired SA policeman to be their police chief a few years ago. He got their force up to 7 patrolman. Now Bandera has fired all of them and gone back to a city marshall. ... More ›

 
Ken Semlinger  
Poth, TX  
August 8, 2014 4:21pm
 
Sometime I wonder if anyone in Poth reads the paper, or cares whats in it. Or are they afraid to comment.

 
The Marcelina Muse  
Dry Tank, TX  
August 8, 2014 11:00am
 
Yeah the chief should at least be able to cover the work of that additional 1/2 he says he needs. Let's see how long has he been chief? Two years or less? Bureaucrats are all the same, especially if they come from a large department. ... More ›

 
Publius Valerius Publicola  
Rome, Tx.  
August 7, 2014 1:23pm
 
How about getting the chief to work a shift. All I see him do is sit in his office with the door closed. Maybe work the traffic on 181. Vehicles speed through and the only one giving tickets is DPS. Municipal court should contribute ... More ›

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