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Police department to add more patrols

Federal Way police stand to gain 10 positions, a bomb van, and a four-legged community outreach tool in the form of a K-9 officer.

Under city staff’s proposed 2001-2002 Mid-Biennium Budget Amendment, the biggest changes would be in the city’s police department, which would finish its restructuring process. Other expenditures would be allocated to help some city workers’ salaries keep pace with inflation, cover higher gas costs for city vehicles and for a host of housekeeping expenses.

The City Council will hold a hearing on the proposal next month, and is expected adopt a revised budget plan in December.

Anne Kirkpatrick, Federal Way police chief, has been reshaping her department, adding an emphasis on patrol, and has been eyeing potential service improvements and cost savings since starting Jan. 29.

“The goal is to have the resources available to give me 10 officers per patrol squad,” Kirkpatrick said. “Sometimes we’ll have more officers on patrol at night because we don’t have a traffic unit at night.”

The department will add 10 new positions under the budget proposal, but some of that will come from shifting jobs. Kirkpatrick will eliminate two lieutenant and deputy chief positions through attrition and move some officers in administration to patrol. She’ll also change the public information officer job so it’s a civilian position, and add four civilian police service officers to free up patrolmen. The service officers will help with traffic control, transport prisoners and a perform host of other duties.

She hopes to add a van for the police bomb response team as wells as a K-9 officer for search details and outreach in community schools.

“The department has received the news very favorably. This is a very positive step as far as officers and staff are concerned,” Kirkpatrick said.

The city’s overall budget amendment also includes revised revenue predictions, including a $200,000 – or 2-percent – drop in 2002 in sales tax revenue over last year’s estimates, and adjusts property tax revenue figures to comply with provisions proscribed should Initiative 747 pass in the Nov. 6 General Election. The measure sponsored by Mukilteo direct-mail salesman Tim Eyman appears to have broad support, according to the state’s leading pollsters. If I-747 passes, property tax increases would be capped at the annual rate of inflation – currently 3.9 percent – or 1 percent, whichever is less.

In percentage terms, the changes to the city’s general fund and street fund are slight. Operating expenditure would be up by $680,000, with $285,000 targeted for the police department and $181,077 slated to cover 3.5-percent cost-of-living raises to city staffers. The city’s 2001 projections had only figured a 2.5-percent raise for employees.

But the city also stands to rake in more than it had expected last year. An unexpected $651,000 in revenue – and increase of 2.4-percent – should come to city coffers, largely from the city gambling tax and fines levied by the municipal court.

The heads of each city department seemed pleased by the council’s initial response to their budget requests.

“I’m personally thrilled’,” Kirkpatrick said.

Even after the adjustments, the city expects to have $1.9 million in revenue for its so-called rainy day fund “to guard against a worsening economy for 2002,” said City Manager David Moseley. Revenue to the General Fund exceeded predictions by $976,600

“This provides a hedge,” Moseley told the council, “in these sort of uncertain times.”

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