Representatives from Manhattan and Riley County will pull together more data before continuing a discussion on whether or not to alter the funding split for Riley County Police operations. The topic was on the agenda for the joint meeting in Manhattan City Hall Thursday between the City of Manhattan as well as Riley and Pottawatomie Counties.
The discussion was initiated by Manhattan Commissioner Wynn Butler, who proposed changing how the two governmental organizations fill out the RCPD operations budget. He says that Manhattan residents pay both bodies’ taxes, which according to numbers he’s seen results in them paying 96 cents on the dollar for the budget.
“There’s something fundamentally wrong with that,” Butler says, adding he doesn’t think the city receives 96 percent of RCPD’s service.
Currently, Manhattan and Riley County split operations costs 80/20, which includes things like personnel and vehicle expenses. Outside of operations, Riley County is solely responsible for RCPD infrastructure, radio equipment, as well medical costs.
Butler wants the split to be more representative of the population breakdown — 75/25 as Manhattan makes up about 75 percent of the county population — though he’d prefer the entire budget be on the county mill levy. County Commissioner Marvin Rodriguez replied during the meeting they’d prefer the split be 90/10.
County Commissioner John Ford questioned how much of a tax impact a 5 percent shift in funding would have.
County Commissioner Ron Wells spoke with KMAN after the meeting and says the split should stand as is. He says he was never a fan of a consolidated police force, though they already have it and the system is working.
“I realize that the citizens of Manhattan pay county share and city share [of taxes],” says Wells. “But the majority of all [RCPD’s] service is in the City of Manhattan.”
Wells and Rodriguez also were unaware that RCPD serves the city past the Pottawatomie County border. Once hearing that, it added to their conviction to not take on further funding obligations for RCPD’s operations budget.
Manhattan Mayor Mike Dodson proposed pulling together additional data and sitting down as a group again to discuss the topic further.
“We need to really look at how the tax numbers really play out, ask the director of the RCPD where most of the effort is right now — so in other words, is there 25 percent in the county, is there 75 percent in the city?” Dodson says. “Look at those two factors at least and go from there.”