In the near future, Hesperians will be asked two seemingly simple questions: Do they want more police and fire service and how would they be willing to pay for it?
"We had a workshop before the [city council] meeting" on Tuesday, assistant city manager Kim Summers said Thursday. "It was a special joint meeting to look at public safety financing alternatives."
While there are some signs an economic recovery may be starting, it's not here yet, and city revenues are below even the conservative projections made previously. At the same time, residents have asked for more spending on fire and police coverage.
"The council voted to take the next step" on Tuesday, said Summers, and hire a polling firm to get a feel for how many residents want more coverage and how they'd be willing to pay for it. (Mayor Thurston "Smitty" Smith and Councilman Mike Leonard voted against the decision.)
At the council's Dec. 15 meeting, a contract with True North Consulting will be presented, at a cost "not to exceed $40,000."
Among the options before the council is putting a bond measure on the ballot.
But even if the public says "no, thanks" to all the options presented, there are no cuts for police and fire coverage on the immediate horizon.
"There are not any cuts in service planned. We just got our first quarter revenue and it's down," said Summers. "I don't think even next year we're going to come out of this."
The next regular meeting of the Hesperia City Council will take place on Dec. 1 at 6:30 p.m. at Hesperia City Hall, 9700 Seventh Avenue.
Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/HesperiaStar.