Montrose, CO — Senior command staff at the Montrose Police Department will be joined by members of the Blue Ribbon Public Safety Citizen Advisory Committee to host a series of presentations aimed at informing the public about the current law enforcement needs of the City of Montrose, and a proposed Public Safety Sales Tax, PSST, increase to fund additional officers and new and renovated facilities to improve police services in the community.
The Police Department will hold Town Hall meetings at the Montrose Pavilion (1800 Pavilion Drive) on August 12 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and August 20 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Light refreshments provided.
A third presentation will be held Wednesday, August 21 at 8 a.m. at The Forum Montrose located at the Court Appointed Special Advocates, CASA, building (147 North Townsend Avenue).
The presentations will focus on the current assessment of the Montrose Police Department operations, crime statistics and analysis, and what the department needs to grow with the community to achieve the proactive policing goals of the future.
Earlier this month, Montrose City Councilors, citing critical shortages in both police personnel and resources, approved a resolution signaling its intent to take the next step in pursuing a public safety sales tax this fall.
Councilors unanimously approved Resolution 2019-19 on July 16, which serves as an official notice to the Montrose County Clerk's office of their intention "to authorize a ballot question for the election to be held on the first Tuesday of November, 2019, for the purpose of imposing a citywide public safety improvements sales tax to address critical and immediate needs of the City of Montrose Police Department."
The city's official Charter provides the City Council with the authority to approve, by resolution, a ballot question for all registered city voters.
At this time councilors have not approved any ballot language for the PSST. Language including the specific rate of the tax increase will need to be approved by the council at a future meeting.
In spring 2018, a group of concerned citizens representing Montrose Regional Crime Stoppers brought data to the council that they believed supported their conclusion that police services in the city are greatly understaffed and underfunded. Acting on these concerns, the council created the Blue Ribbon Public Safety Citizen Advisory Committee (PSCAC) to critically analyze the department and see where any additional funding could be found in the city's budget.
In June 2019, following five months of work, the PSCAC presented their findings to the City Council along with a final report regarding staffing and funding recommendations for the future of the Montrose Police Department. The PSCAC's consensus was that the department should increase its number of sworn officers and provide adequate resources for those officers including a new Police Department headquarters. PSCAC members said their vision is to make sure law enforcement resources adapt with population growth expected in the coming decades.
The PSCAC recommended the council pursue a public safety sales tax at the first legal opportunity and put the question in front of voters to decide. Their final report to the City Council can be viewed on the city's website at www.CityOfMontrose.org/Rreport.
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