The Siletz City Council may have sparked renewed interest in the Siletz Tribe once again providing substantial funds to bolster law enforcement in Siletz. The Siletz Tribe has a lot at stake in supplementing law enforcement presence in the town of 1,200 people since it’s main tribal headquarters are located there and there is a substantial Native American population that calls Siletz their home.
The latest idea is to put a surcharge on local water bills as a financial supplement to payments the tribe might find its way to restoring. The tribe had provided over $200,000 a year to the Toledo Police Department for part time coverage of the town but withdrew that support last year when the Siletz City Council stalled on the idea of the town coming up with funds of their own.
A city official said that Tribe General Manager Brenda Bremner indicated that the idea of a local water surcharge, rather than a tax increase, sounded interesting and that she would take the idea to the Tribal Council for their consideration.
No time line was immediately given for how long it might take for the Tribal Council to make a decision.
In the meantime, local licensed security guard Mark Cummiskey has been patrolling and monitoring properties that have contracted with him to watch over their facilities in light of the law enforcement situation in Siletz. The level of coverage dropped dramatically when the tribe cancelled their contract with the Toledo Police Department last year.
There have been numerous reports about how Siletz residents feel unsafe on the street and even in their own homes from what they call the near abandonment of law enforcement patrols in their community. Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office officials have told the city council that they send occasional patrols into the area but usually rely on local residents to call them when there is something going on. Officials say the sheriff’s office budget allows less than 24 hour coverage of the entire county as it is – and even then patrol units are spread very thin from Otis to Yachats, Newport to Eddyville. They say they do the very best they can with the resources they have to work with.
So we’ll see what a water bill surcharge might do to improve law enforcement in Siletz.