Gilbert Town Council approves police department’s request for $2.3 million to fix budget issues

May 7, 2024, 10:04 PM

PHOENIX — The Gilbert Town Council voted unanimously to give the town’s police department $2.3 million during a Tuesday meeting.

This additional funding is needed to help the department for the 2024 fiscal year, which ends in June, Soelberg told the Gilbert Town Council.

“We have exceeded our overtime that has been budgeted. We have not increased the cap of that overtime,” he said.

The department exceeded its allotted budget — and they knew they’d go over their budget four months ago, Soelberg said. However, they decided to hold off their request closer to the year’s end to have a more accurate accounting of the department’s expenditures.

Of the $2.3 million the department needs, $1.9 million will address personnel costs, Soelberg said.

Those costs mainly came from staffing issues and vacancies, he added.

“We are doing much better than other agencies in the Valley,” Soelberg added. “We’re roughly around a 4% vacancy rate between professional staff and sworn.”

Increased workload also plays a huge role in the need to pay those personnel costs, Soelberg added. The Gilbert Police Department has seen a spike in youth violence cases, many of which are reopened cases. Other cases involve crimes that took place years ago but have only recently been reported.

The request for a budget contingency reflects a trend that’s gone back a few years.

Last year, Gilbert PD needed $2.98 million to fix its budgeting issues, while the year before, it needed under $2 million, Soelberg said.

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Gilbert Town Council approves police department’s request for $2.3 million to fix budget issues