By Jordan Puckett
New Richmond village council voted to appoint a new committee for the purpose of assisting Mayor Ramona Carr in preparing a request for police services. The committee consists of council members Nick Wolf, Richard Matthews, and Paul Vanderbosch, who made the motion to appoint the committee.
“I chose Mr. Wolf because he is a former mayor and Mr. Matthews is a former police officer,” said Vanderbosch. “I think their insight will be helpful.”
The request for services will set the annual police levy as the maximum amount the village is willing to pay for police services.
The committee will send requests to the New Richmond Police Department, Clermont County Sherriff’s Office, and the Pierce Township Police Department, as well as any other department that is interested in submitting a proposal.
“It is my understanding that there are 30 police departments and 17 fire departments in Clermont County,” Vanderbosch said. “I personally think there should only be one police department and one fire department for the entire county.”
Vanderbosch, a former resident of Florida, said that is how Duval and Sarasota counties in Florida operate. He said one police and fire department was “enough” for them.
It is also the belief of the committee that the New Richmond Police Department could find ways to cut costs.
“This in no way means we are definitely going to enter into a contract for police services,” Wolf said. “Right now we are just checking what it would cost to see what our options are.”
Councilman Rick Hilt is opposed to requesting services.
“There are many institutions that make up a community including churches, veterans organizations, social clubs, schools, service clubs, fire/EMS department, village government and the police department,” Hilt said in an email. “When one of these organizations such as the police department disappears or we rely on someone else outside to replace them we begin to lose some of our independence.”
Hilt said he feels that an outside party would be faced with the same cost issues as the New Richmond Police Department. He is concerned that a department located eight miles outside the village would be unable to effectively serve the residents of New Richmond.
“It is much too soon to throw up our hands and say the problem is too big for us to handle,” Hilt said. “It is my belief that our village is best equipped to solve our own problems.”
The new committee appointed by council requested that all proposals for services be submitted by Aug. 31 and that, if any proposals meet the approval of council, the village enter into an agreement with one of the agencies by October 31, with an effective date of Jan. 1, 2014.