MARSHALL — Lyon County cities that contract with the Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement would see the cost of those contracts rise over the next three years, under rate increases approved by county commissioners this week.
Lyon County commissioners voted to approve a proposal to increase law enforcement service rates 1.5% in 2022, 1.5% in 2023, and 2% in 2024. Sheriff Eric Wallen said the proposed increases would be spread out so the affected communities had time to plan for the increases.
“We don’t want to overburden these communities,” Wallen said.
However, he said the Sheriff’s Office needed to factor in inflation for the costs of providing law enforcement services.
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office currently provides contracted services to five Lyon County cities — Cottonwood, Ghent, Lynd, Russell and Balaton.
At Tuesday’s county board meeting, Wallen said he was bringing proposed law enforcement rates forward earlier than usual, to make it easier for area cities to plan their 2022 budgets.
“It’s a little different from what we’ve done in the past,” Wallen said. Usually, the county sets law enforcement rates at the end of the year, when the county fee schedule is updated.
Wallen presented proposed increases of 1.5% for each of the next two years, and a 2% increase in 2024. The overall cost of the law enforcement contracts would vary by city, depending on population and the number of hours per week that deputies patrol the city. For example, the annual base rate for a city of 200-400 people would be about $24,691 in 2022, $25,060 in 2023, and $25,560 in 2024. A city with a population over 750 would see its annual base rate go to $98,764 in 2022, $100,243 in 2023, and $102,240 in 2024. Cities can also contract for additional patrol hours, at an hourly rate.
Commissioners approved the proposed rate increases, but not without some discussion of how they would go over with Lyon County communities.
“I think it should be well received,” said Commissioner Gary Crowley. He noted that Wallen was trying not to increase rates too much per year. However, Commissioner Rick Anderson said he thought some cities might still be frustrated over the cost of law enforcement services compared to the amount of activity actually going on in their communities.