Carbondale to hire new police officer and parks worker |

Carbondale to hire new police officer and parks worker

CARBONDALE, Colorado ” Carbondale’s budgetary hiring freeze will thaw just a little bit as the town moves to fill a police officer position that has been vacant, as well as hire a part-time seasonal parks worker.

As part of its budget adjusting due to declining sales tax revenues this year, the town imposed a hiring and salary freeze.

As a result, the police department has been down two officers most of the year following a pair of resignations.

The summertime hiring of a parks maintenance worker had also been on hold as part of the town’s efforts to control spending during the economic downturn.

However, with a little shuffling of budgeted funds that have not yet been spent, and using municipal court revenues, which are actually exceeding projections, town trustees agreed Tuesday to go forward with hiring the two positions.

“At least for the remainder of 2009 we have come up with a way to fund these positions,” Carbondale Town Manager Tom Baker said.

The seasonal parks worker will be temporary through the warmer months, and the position will be re-evaluated again for next year, he said.

As for the police officer position, Police Chief Gene Schilling has applied for grant funding for three officers under the federal COPS grants program. However, the town will not receive word on that potential funding source until later this year, Baker said.

At least one of those positions, if funded, would likely become the new school resource officer (SRO). If no grant is awarded, the police department still intends to find a way to reinstate the SRO within its existing staff, he said.

The town board decided this spring to return the SRO position in local schools, following an assault incident involving several local teenagers that had undertones of a gang-style initiation.

A monthly budget update shows the town had about a 13 percent decline in sales taxes for March, compared to the same month last year. Sales taxes to date for the town are down about 10.7 percent.

Contact John Stroud: 384-9160

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