City Manager Michelle Amberg says it appears that Toledo will be able to continue to provide basic police services to the Siletz area if a recent tentative agreement between Toledo and the tribes is agreed to.
The Siletz Tribes decided earlier this year that they could no longer afford to keep paying the same amount for police services due to recession-caused pressures on their tribal budgets. Toledo’s initial response was “but we have a contract!” Amberg said the tribes cutting their contribution in mid-course would cause damage to Toledo’s police force due to the nature of the partnership between Toledo and the tribes.
But after several negotiating sessions, Amberg says it appears that the tribe will reduce their cuts to a point where Toledo won’t have to lay-off two officers – it’ll be just one. Under the tentative agreement, Amberg told NewsLincolnCounty.com that patrol services in Siletz will be cut back from 120 hours a week to 80 – a thirty percent reduction. However, she added, “We’re still evaluating the situation.” She said she hopes to have a new deal with the tribes formalized very shortly.
Police services in the Siletz area have always been a difficult issue. Siletz is an official city, same as Newport or Toledo. However, its tax base is seen as insufficient to provide full city services. In the past, it has relied on the generosity of “others,” which has included the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz, whose tribal headquarters are based in Siletz. Without that generosity Siletz would have to rely on standard rural-type Lincoln County Sheriff’s patrols which, by their nature, stretch sheriff’s deputies thin over wide geographical areas. However, as Sheriff Dennis Dotson said recently, any community can contract with the sheriff’s office for increased patrols if they provide sufficient funds to justify adding a deputy or two to their area. The city of Waldport contracts with the sheriff’s office for enhanced patrols.