BY ISIDRO SOLORIO
Photo Courtesy of Pexels
In past years the costs of giving public safety to all nine cities here in the Coachella valley have been increasing by five to seven percent and this can eventually become a worrisome financial burden. There have been studies going on for the past decade to discover what makes the costs of public safety go higher but nothing has come to solid conclusion.
The annual public safety costs will not stop but will continue. Five of the nine cities; Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Coachella and Indian Wells contract out public safety service to Riverside County and Cal Fire while the other four, Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs and Indio maintain independent police departments. According to the article, “Joining Forces? Public Safety Costs Are Rising and Coachella Nine Cities…” sates that 50 percent of the general fund budget goes straight to public safety.
The article, “Tax levels vary throughout Coachella Valley cities,” states, some of the cities mentioned earlier have some fees on top of the regular charges. These extra fees help create a bigger fund-budget that goes straight to public safety. Out of the cities that charges extra fees, La Quinta is the lowest with $35.60 for landscaping and lighting needs. While Desert Hot Springs has the most extra charges, residents can end up paying up to $458 annually for citywide landscape, lighting maintenance and public safety. Out of the $458, $123 go to help maintain the city’s police dep. Each of the nine cities have its own fund budget and each of them spent a percentage in public safety. For example, Indian Wells spends 35 percent and Cathedral City spends 65 percent. In the other hand the cities that do not impose citywide fees for special services are Cathedral City, Coachella, Indio and Palm Springs.
College of the Desert student Ana Abarca says, “For me one of the most important things is my safety, therefore I don’t care paying for such. I think we all deserve to feel safe, especially with all those things happening around the world that we see in television.” Referring to sad events such as the massacre in Las Vegas. She also mentions, “it is vital for the public to have safety, because if we are going through all this having public safety, without it we would be gone by now.” Stating that public safety must always be there at any cost.
Public safety is given to the public 24/7 and it wouldn’t happen if individuals didn’t pay fees and extra fees as some of the cities does. It is one of the vitals components to a safe valley.