With more growth in Rosenberg comes more responsibility to keep the city safe. And council member Lisa Wallingford is worried that the city won’t be kept safe with a lower tax rate.
Even though the 2020 budget will fund four new positions in the police department, Wallingford voiced her concerns with the public safety.
“You keep talking about this growth and that we’re adding these houses and these master plan communities and all these subdivisions,” Wallingford started.
“Well, with all that, we need to increase our public safety, our police and our fire. Public safety is the most important thing to me. And with the number of police officers that we have, with the open positions, I don’t believe that that’s enough.”
According to Police Chief Jonathan White, the department has 90 officers, 18 of which patrol strictly Lamar Consolidated ISD schools.
“I don’t think any police chief will tell you that they have enough (officers),” White leveled with Wallingford. “We could always use more. But that is a nation-wide problem. We could always use more public safety. But we do our best to allocate the resources we have to target certain areas of the city where we’re seeing crime increasing.”
Wallingford said that with an increase in population comes an increase in crime.
“How are we supposed to feel safe when we have less officers on the street?” she asked the chief. “How are we supposed to feel like that’s enough?” White reminded Wallingford that police officers are people too.
“We just have to allocate the resources we have as best we can,” he responded.
Wallingford said she wished the city could use money that would be taken from the tax decrease to fund more police officer positions.
“If we run into a bind, we can always reach out for help (from other police departments),” councilman and former Rosenberg Police Officer Kevin Raines said. “I agree, yes, more is always good. But sometimes we got to grow into it a little bit. I appreciate everything you’re doing with what you got. You get what you can. At the end of the day, it’s our job to take care of the staff and the citizens and I think this budget is well-rounded and did what it should do.”
Council member Jacob Balderas made a motion to accept the 2020 fiscal year budget.
The motion was seconded by council member Steven DeGregorio. Council member Isaac Davila abstained from voting, but the motion carried.
The 2020 fiscal year will begin Oct. 1. The next Rosenberg City Council meeting will be held Sept. 17 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, located at 2110 Fourth St.