To the editor,
As I read a recent article about the Prospect police getting a new vehicle, I was stunned to see the statement: “It was not bought with taxpayer’s money.” This is simply a misrepresentation.
Sure, the purchase was not in the budget, so it looks like tax money was not used. Considering the officers are employed by the town and the vehicles are maintained and fueled by the town, any revenue they generate should go back to the town. Instead, this money (the overtime account) is treated as if it is separate and only for use by the police department. It really should be treated as revenue just like any other fee the town collects.
How does the money get put into the overtime account? Let’s examine the process.
A contractor needs traffic control officers, and Prospect officers are hired to do the job. The Town of Prospect charges the contractor a much higher hourly rate than the officers are paid as town employees. The money the contractor pays goes into the “overtime account.” The officers are paid through the town payroll. If this money the contractors paid was treated as revenue, it would reduce the amount of taxes that the town would need to collect. No matter how you look at it, taxpayers are paying for it.
I firmly believe in periodic replacement of all town vehicles for the safety of the public and those who operate them. When a replacement is needed, put a line item in the budget for all to see.