The Biggs City Council earlier this week postponed action on a potential new public service agreement with the Gridley-Biggs Police Department.
The council, at its Tuesday night regular meeting, heard a presentation from Gridley-Biggs Police Chief Dean Price, who presented what he said was another draft of the proposed agreement between the two cities.
The Gridley-Biggs Police Department’s most recent contract with Biggs expired June 30, 2015. The new proposed agreement would run through June 2020.
Price said the new agreement asks for $507,452 annually. That’s a 10 percent increase from the current agreement of $460,224.
Price again emphasized that the increase would be the first since 2013. The agreement amount is based on the number of incidents responded to by the GBPD for the City of Biggs.
Last year, the GBPD responded to 16,136 total incidents. Of that total, Biggs had 2,659.
Price said Gridley proposes a 3.35 percent increase in the agreement each of the final two years. The future increases are due to increases in health and pension costs.
Biggs council members seem to still be concerned about the cost of the agreement, though they went to great lengths to emphasize that they are satisfied with the level of service the GBPD provides in Biggs.
“It’s about the money,” more than one council member said.
Biggs Mayor Angela Thompson reiterated that point. “You do a wonderful job for us. It’s not at all about the service.”
But there were clear signs of a strained relationship between the two cities. Councilmember Nathan Wilkinson, in particular, expressed frustration with what he termed the “tone of your (Chief Price’s) boss."
“I’m not appreciative of being called a subsidized city,” Wilkinson said.
“I don’t like doing business with a gun to my head,” Wilkinson added.
Price said he was hoping to get the agreement issue wrapped up as soon as possible. There is a police officerl vacancy in the department currently that would likely go unfilled, in addition to further staffing reductions, if the GBPD loses the Biggs agreement.
“I’d like to get a timeline, so I can make some decisions,” Price said. He said he’d like to at least have a one-year agreement for planning purposes.
The Gridley City Council meets next on Monday.
The Biggs council agreed to revisit the issue at a special meeting set for Tuesday, July 25 at 6:30 p.m.