Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Islelton To Get Police Back on Line


 
Isleton finds insurance coverage, plans to restore police service [The Sacramento Bee, Calif.]


January 18, 2012


By Carlos Alcala, The Sacramento Bee, Calif.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services
Jan. 18--Isleton hopes to have its own police officers back on the beat soon, after lapsing workers' compensation insurance forced the city temporarily to rely on theSacramento County Sheriff's Department for law enforcement.
The city has found two brokers for alternative coverage and hopes to negotiate new insurance "by the end of the week," said Dave Larsen, city manager and city attorney forIsleton.
The city was left without the coverage last week when its longtime insurer declined to negotiate a payment schedule and canceled the city's policy due to lack of payment.
The move was not entirely unexpected.
"From day one it's been clear to me," said Larsen, who has been on the job more than three months, since the previous city manager retired. "We've been in trouble for years."
Larsen estimates the city is $600,000 to $700,000 in debt, but believes that a plan to right its finances can be put together by March.
"We're not tens of millions of dollars in the hole," he said. "We will know going forward, by March, how we're going to clear out this back indebtedness."
Although the city's police force has been on hold due to the insurance crisis, firefighters are ready to respond, Larsen said.
Clerical workers are not on duty and Larsen is answering the phone at City Hall.
The Sheriff's Department assumed law-enforcement duties for the city Thursday, relying on four deputies already assigned to the south part of the county.
Once new insurance is secured, Isleton officers can return to work and the city can move on to the long-term finance issues.
There are no plans to dissolve the city, which could be more costly than other alternatives to working out of debt.
With sales tax and property tax revenue flat, the city has to look at new ways of gaining revenue.
The city failed last year in a plan to get revenue from a marijuana farm approved in city limits.
New ideas may be somewhat more conventional.
"The kinds of things we're looking at are all legitimate," Larsen said.

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A farmers market and a jazz festival are possibilities.
"As you know we can give great parties," Larsen said. "We need a city signature event."
Other popular events held in the city, such as the famed Crawdad Festival, have not generated funds for city coffers, he said.
Call The Bee'sCarlos Alcala, (916) 321-1987

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