P’Ville talks cops ... again

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By Jonna Spelbring Priester

General Manager

Though some officials maintain the city simply cannot afford it, the Pleasureville City Commission turned its discussion, again, toward a police officer for the small town.

During Monday night’s business meeting, the topic sprang up at different points, including the passage of the city’s 2009-2010 budget.

Commissioner Gary Grigsby expressed concern about approving the budget — in which there is no line item for a police officer — should the city decide later that it wants to hire an officer.

“So what do you tell people in town who want a police officer,” he asked.

Mayor Rodney Young maintained that the city simply does not have the money, and that even if a grant pays for an officer initially, there can be strings attached.

“With the grants, you have to hire them (and) keep them,” he said. “(The grant) pays them for three years, maybe, but after that three years is up, you’ve got to keep him, you can’t get rid of him.”

Despite the lack of a city officer, Young said the Kentucky State Police and Henry County Sheriff’s Department patrol the city regularly. “We’ve got a state trooper that’s writing tickets left and right,” he said.

He later cautioned that even if the city had a police officer, they could have one only for 40 hours and that the city could not afford overtime pay. For reference, he said, there are 168 hours in a week.

Commissioner Vic Harrod said residents haven’t asked him about a police officer, though Harrod’s wife Reba said she hears from residents constantly.

“A lot of older people say they would probably feel safer if they knew there was one,” she said. “But I don’t know what to say to you all. I don’t know what you can do.”

The commission approved the budget, and conversation later turned toward a request from the fire department to apply for a loan for a new fire truck.

Young said during the meeting the fire department likely would be able to pay for much of the purchase itself. If purchased, the fire truck would be new, and Young estimated it could cost about $150,000. The loan would, in all likelihood come through the Kentucky League of Cities and be paid back over 10 years.

But Commissioner Sandra Woods asked how the city could “do that, and $20,000 on the sidewalks, but we can’t get a police officer.” The sidewalk funds, Young said, come from a road fund that can only be used on roads or the sidewalks.

Young also said the city could remove money from the parks budget and put that toward a police officer. That would mean doing nothing at the park, which Young said has broken equipment.

Reba Harrod later said she’s most concerned by elderly residents telling her about people knocking on their doors in the early morning hours. “They don’t feel there’s any security, they don’t feel that there’s anybody (they) can lean on,” she said. “And they do know that when they have to call for help, it’s primarily going to have to come from La Grange. And they know the problem will be over before they get here.”

After city clerk Verna Stivers said she’d heard just one resident talk about the late night knocking, Reba Harrod said there were more.

“Okay, get them over here to complain during a meeting,” Vic Harrod responded.

The commission went on to approve the fire department’s request to pursue a KLC loan for a new fire truck.

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