By Sue Botos
The reinstatement of the police marine patrol and maintenance of city equipment suffering from the long winter were among several items in a supplemental appropriation to the 2014 budget recently approved by City Council.
Council President Jim Moran explained that the move was really a housekeeping measure to redistribute money already approved for the general fund. The total of $29,082 does not reflect an increase in the budget.
Not originally funded due to a tight budget, $8,300 was earmarked for the marine patrol in the supplement. According to Mayor Pam Bobst, this cost will be shared in a partnership with the Cleveland Metroparks and the city of Lakewood.
In addition, the appropriation reflects the $266,000 needed to replace the current police boat, the 14-year-old Argus IV. The city had received a $200,000 Homeland Security grant to purchase a new craft, but could not spare the additional $66,000. The Metroparks stepped in to supply the funds.
“It’s not just the boat, but the personnel and operating costs,” Moran said, noting that without the help of the two jurisdictions, the marine patrol would remain dry-docked.
“Until the Metroparks and Lakewood agreed to help, we couldn’t do this,” said Moran of the service, which will be rechristened the West Shore Marine Patrol. He said the boat will continue to be moored at the police dock under the Clifton Road bridge.
Once the new boat arrives this summer, the Argus will be returned to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Moran also noted that the patrol area used to run to Avon Point, but now there will be more emphasis on the lakeshore parks that have recently been included in the Metroparks system.
While the logistics are still being worked out, Mayor Pam Bobst indicated that a capital fund would be created, requiring a possible $1,000 yearly from each of the three jurisdictions for emergencies such as repairs to the boat.
Law Director Andy Bemer added that the Cuyahoga County sheriff will deputize all officers working on the boat to have jurisdiction in all patrol areas.
In addition to the marine patrol funding, the supplemental appropriations include a $17,318 estimate for weather-related expenses such as equipment repair, overtime and related pension costs. Bobst has indicated that portions of this amount will be recovered from Morton Salt, which caused salt shortages throughout the area with delayed or canceled deliveries.
“We’re not the only community doing this,” she stated.
Also included in the supplement is $10,000 for repairs to the recreation center boiler.
“It’s a great thing to have the opportunity to finalize the budget by the end of the year. The bad news is that nothing ever stays the same,” Moran commented.