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Dewey commissioners vote to upgrade police tasers

Military auction proceeds to pay first year of installment plan
May 21, 2020

Dewey commissioners voted 3-1 May 8 to upgrade police department tasers, proceeds from the military surplus auction for the initial annual payment; remaining payments will come from the budget.

Town Manager Scott Koenig said he received two proposals; the first, roughly $25,000, is a basic service plan to be paid over six years; a second offers an extended service plan and would cost $33,000 with equal payments over five years. “This is a required purchase,” Koenig said.

Commissioner Paul Bauer motioned to pay the total cost of tasers with proceeds from the military surplus auction, but Koenig requested a motion to allow staff to discuss both options, select the most appropriate and inform commissioners of the decision. Bauer amended his motion to include both options and allow staff to spend up to $33,000 after consulting with the police department.

Moskowitz suggested that, going forward, the police department budget include such requests; Commissioner Gary Persinger agreed.

“I have a lot of objections to this,” Persinger said. He said the proposal showed up in commissioners’ emails a week ago, which was almost a month after the quote expired. He said commissioners approved the budget March 27 and had no idea tasers were needed

“It seems to be essential equipment, and yet it’s not part of the regular budget, and it shows up last week,” he said. Persinger said it makes sense to pay the first year with auction funds because it was unbudgeted, but that future payments should be part of the regular budget if it’s necessary police equipment. He said seasonal officers also could be paid with auction funds. 

Bauer would not amend his motion; he said auction funds were set aside to upgrade the police department, not pay for seasonal staffing.

Mayor Dale Cooke said he didn't remember that funds were to be used solely to upgrade the department; Persinger said commissioners agreed to use funds for police purposes.

“We can check that in the record,” he said.

The motion failed in a tie, with Bauer and Cooke voting for, and Moskowitz and Persinger voting against. A second motion by Persinger to approve paying the first year with auction funds and deferring remaining expenses to the next four budget years passed 3-1, with Persinger, Moskowitz and Cooke for and Bauer against.

“I’m voting yes because we need to get this equipment bought, and police say they need it now,” Cooke said.

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