Local government

Nyssa to see higher city bills as boost in safety fee takes effect

NYSSA – A public safety fee boost approved by the Nyssa City Council last month will help the town’s police department pay salaries comparable to other area law enforcement agencies, but won’t be enough to hire any new officers.
The city council put an end to nearly six months of debate and discussion on the fee hike at a special meeting, Tuesday, Dec. 19. The council voted unanimously to boost the current monthly public safety fee by $3 to $8, charged on the city’s monthly bills to residents and businesses.
The fee boost will appear on the January bill.
The public safety fee is separate from the city’s water and sewer charges. The 2022-2023 Nyssa city budget lists income from the fee at $76,000. The fee hike will generate about $118,700 a year, according to Jim Maret, Nyssa city manager.
The original proposal considered by the council would have increased the fee to $15. Since August city officials held public meetings and launched two surveys to gather input from the public about a proposed fee boost.
The council rejected the $15 fee hike on a 5-2 vote at its Dec. 12 meeting.
Don Ballou, Nyssa police chief, said while the boost won’t be enough to hire another full-time officer, it does help his department.
“We were able to get something to happen and that is a benefit,” he said.

Maret said the fee increase is key for the future of the police department.
“We can get officers up to close to what other areas pay so we won’t lose any more,” he said.
Maret, who is also a Nyssa reserve officer, said he doubted there would be another public safety fee hike soon.
“If the property tax base continues to increase in Nyssa we won’t have to for some time,” said Maret.
He said he believes that within the “next year or two the (tax) base will come up.”
“I am pretty sure there will be more growth,” he said.
Nyssa Councilor Robert Escobedo said he felt the right decision was made on the fee boost.
“We’ve got to do something before we lose the whole force,” he said.
Escobedo voted against the $15 proposal but said the $3 boost is a more reasonable alternative.
“We are competing with other, surrounding areas and losing officers to them. I’d rather take care of what we have now,” he said.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

Previous coverage:

Nyssa holds city hearing on plan to boost public safety fee charged to residents

Residents deliver feedback to Nyssa City Council on public safety fee hike proposal

Nyssa council rejects public safety fee boost

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