Riverside Mayor Rusty Jessup

Riverside Mayor Rusty Jessup.

RIVERSIDE -- Mayor Rusty Jessup said the Police Department will see a reduction in its budget after changes in state law put municipal court systems under the state court system.

He said the money the city received from the municipal court fund is no longer available.

“Now the Police Department is completely reliant on the general fund,” Jessup said before the council unanimously approved the upcoming 2019 fiscal year budget for the city.  

He said the municipal court system once generated additional funds the city could use to pay for E-911 dispatch costs and other expenses within the Police Department.

“Now that’s not there,” Jessup said.

This year’s balanced budget reflects a balance budget for the court fund, estimated at $84,906, with $67,893 going to the state and county, and leaving the municipality with only enough money to pay for actual court-related expenses and jail costs.  

According to the new 2019 budget, Police Department salaries will be reduced by $82,000, from $290,000 this fiscal year to $208,000 for next fiscal year.

“We will have one officer on duty, 24-hours a day,” Jessup told the council Tuesday.

He said there is no money for extra officers.

“It’s something we’re going to have to address in the future,” Jessup said.

He said Riverside residents demand police protection, and as a resident, he also wants police protection.  

“When they (residents) call 911 at 3 in the morning, they don’t want to wait 30 minutes for a county deputy,” Jessup said.

He said Riverside does not receive a lot of retail sales tax revenue to fund city services, and that the municipality depends on ad valorem taxes for funding its services.

“We live on our ad valorem taxes,” Jessup said.

Operating costs for the Police Department are the largest among the city departments. The city budgeted $351,000 for the Police Department for next fiscal year.

“The Police Department is going to continue to be a problem,” Jessup said. “We can’t get quality police officers for what we’re paying. We are fortunate to have retired police officers working for us now.”

Next year’s budget includes $17,500 for parks and recreation, $184,500 for the Fire Department and $40,111 for the road fund.

The budget for the Riverside Landing Marina is balanced, showing a $721 profit for next fiscal year. Expenses for the marina are expected to cost the city $103,849, with revenues estimated at $104,570.

The Water Department stands on its own and is expected to be self-supported, finishing next fiscal year in the black by $69,000.