Meadowlakes is forming a task force to study whether or not the city should establish a formal police force. Task force members will put together a comprehensive study on costs, labor, and facility needs associated with forming a police force and present their findings at a Dec. 21 City Council meeting.
The possibility of a police force was a point of discussion during the preparation of the fiscal year 2021-22 budget, Mayor Mark Bentley said in a statement to DailyTrib.com. The city currently receives policing services from two contracted off-duty deputies from the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office. Roughly $42,000 is budgeted toward traffic control and police department fees in the upcoming year’s proposed budget.
In August, City Council members voiced a need for a study before they could make an informed decision on the issue.
“The issue before the study group is whether a police force could more efficiently address law enforcement issues versus our current contract deputy system,” Bentley said. “If the current system is deemed better, then that is what I expect the committee to come back with.”
Bentley will serve as senior executive to the task force, which will be made up of three Meadowlakes residents. The team will seek community input, analyze costs associated with starting a police force, and study data from the sheriff’s office before presenting their findings to the council during a Dec. 21 meeting.
“Essentially, this study is the missing piece that the City Council needs to make their decision next year,” Bentley explained. “It is a dollars-and-cents issue. Whether you use a black cat or a white cat is not the issue. The issue is which would be more efficient at catching the mouse.”