New police taxes voted downFLORENCE TOWNSHIP — Peter and Lisa Laing want more law enforcement coverage in Florence Township.
By: Jen Cullen, The Republican Eagle
FLORENCE TOWNSHIP — Peter and Lisa Laing want more law enforcement coverage in Florence Township.
Taxpayers may agree, but for the second year voted not to fund extra patrol from the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office.
“I don’t think it’s going to make that big of a difference,” said Ted Berlin. Berlin’s home was one of 11 burglarized last year in Florence Township, which is already patrolled for three hours daily.
Tuesday’s $25,000 tax increase proposal would have likely increased that daily total by a few hours.
“I’m a bit disappointed,” Peter Laing said. “But I think it’s important we take a proactive stance, not a reactive one.”
Peter Laing and his wife first approached the town board several years ago about increasing law enforcement.
While not victims themselves, the Laings have several friends who have been burglarized.
“It’s a community thing, not a personal thing for me,” Peter Laing said.
The sheriff’s office does provide additional law enforcement services — at a cost — for several Goodhue County cities.
Sheriff Dean Albers said this is the first time a township has approached his office interested in a similar arrangement.
Albers suggested residents decide specific needs, then come up with an action plan.
“This is your decision,” Albers said. “This is your community.”
Calls for service to the sheriff’s office from Florence Township have increased from 304 in 2003 to 397 last year. There were 11 burglary and 13 criminal damage to property complaints last year in the township.
“You’re growing, you’re urbanizing,” Albers said.
That may be, said Florence Township resident Ken Nickelsen. But a $25,000 tax increase is too much to handle.
“I don’t see how anyone could have that in their budget,” he said. “I’ve got to be able to afford to live in my house.”
Residents did pass a motion Tuesday to form a volunteer committee to analyze the current law enforcement coverage and draw up statistics to present at next year’s annual meeting.
The Laings said they’ll likely be on that committee.
“There is one positive thing to come out of this,” Lisa Laing said. “The awareness.”