RICHMOND — Selectmen are backtracking on their calculations after police Lt. Andrew Wood publicly disputed the figures being used to justify dissolving the police department.
“We apologize for the errors in calculations in the (Jan. 10) handout. The mistakes were not intentional,” the board said in a revised statement to the public.
The flyer the board had published was changed this week to reflect the real figures, after Wood showed the original numbers were false.
Voters are set to consider a warrant article at the March town meeting that would eliminate the town’s police department, replacing the town police service with a Cheshire County Sheriff’s contract.
According to numbers Selectman William Daniels and Selectman Carol Jameson presented last month, the cost for a sheriff’s deputy is $71,760 a year for 30 patrol hours a week, and $95,680 a year for 40 patrol hours a week. Keeping the town department with one full-time officer, an addition approved at the last March town meeting, costs $177,334 a year for 40 patrol hours, selectmen claimed in the statement that turned out to be incorrect.
Wood said in a letter to the board that these numbers are not accurate. Under his proposed 2019 budget, the town would pay a little more than $103,000 for 91 personnel hours a week, including patrol hours — time for an administrative assistant and a prosecutor, according to Wood.
The board acknowledged that this did not show a breakdown of all the hours in Wood’s proposed budget for 2019, but instead stated that the $177,334 was for 40 hours of patrol, not 52 hours of patrol, 18 hours of administrative duties and investigative time, and three hours of prosecution per week.
The new flyer, published on the town’s website on Monday, reflects the actual numbers, though the board is still in favor of going with the sheriff’s department option. The board claims all investigation, prosecution, and other administrative police work will be done free of charge by the sheriff’s department under the contract.