August 17, 2023 |

Photo – CCSO Logo – Bigfoot99 file photo

In Hanna, the town council voted to pay the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office to patrol the town.

The town of Hanna has been without a law enforcement officer since March when former marshal Ted Kranenburg left the town to join the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office. Hanna officials have been seeking a new marshal since Kranenburg’s departure, but have not found a qualified candidate. To make up for the lack of in-town policing, Sheriff Alex Bakken has offered to have a deputy spend 60-hours a month strictly within Hanna. In exchange, the town would pay the Sheriff’s Office $60,000 a year. Attorneys for the town and the county have been working out the details of the memorandum of understanding since June.

During last Tuesday’s Hanna town council meeting, a finalized copy of the sheriff’s memorandum of understanding was presented to the council.

Mayor Jon Ostling said he was still dissatisfied with the price the town was expected to pay. Councilman Sam Sikes said he was happy with the cost. Mayor Ostling said he wanted Town Attorney Patrick Brady to continue negotiating with Carbon County Attorney Ashley Davis over the proposed dispatch fees.

The original MOU proposed by the sheriff asked the town for $55,000 a year, or roughly the salary of the Hanna marshal, to patrol the town. The town is also expected to pay a flat fee based on population for the Sheriff’s Office to dispatch deputies to Hanna when an officer is needed. The dispatch fee, as it is called, was $5,000 last year. The fee was set to increase to $7,500 for the 2023-2024 fiscal year and rise another $2,500 in the future. The most recent MOU freezes the dispatch fee at $5,000 and combines the price with the yearly cost of patrolling the town. The $5,000 dispatch fee added to the original $55,000 asking price, which brought the total cost for a deputy to patrol Hanna up to $60,000 a year.

At the August 8th Hanna town council meeting, Mayor Ostling said he was unhappy with the dispatch fees. Councilmen Sam Sikes and Bill Dys said the mayor needs to look at the contract in a different way. Councilman Sikes said the town is getting a good deal.

Councilman Roger Hawks reminded the mayor that the agreement could be canceled at any time. Mayor Ostling said the dispatch fee would grow twofold if the town revoked the MOU. Town Clerk Vivian Gonzales said ending the agreement would put the town in the same position it is in now. Councilman Sikes said the contract can end when the town finds a new marshal.

Mayor Ostling said the patrolling deputy’s required 60 hours of patrol time would be taken up with emergency calls. Clerk Gonzales corrected the mayor, saying emergency calls to the town will not come out of the agreed upon time.

Gonzales said the town can request a deputy to come to town for administrative reasons. The time spent doing VIN checks would come out of the deputy’s patrol time.

In the finalized MOU, the town is required to give the Sheriff’s Office a week’s notice when requesting a deputy to be in town for a specific day and time. Town Attorney Patrick Brady, attending over the phone, said the town should be able to request a deputy sooner.

Councilman Sikes said he thinks that Sheriff Bakken will accommodate the town if a deputy was required on shorter notice. The councilman motioned to approve the MOU. Councilman Dys seconded. The motion passed. Mayor Ostling was the lone dissenting vote.

Hanna will now have a sheriff’s deputy patrol the town for 60 hours a month. The council said they will work on developing a schedule for the deputy to be in town to perform VIN checks and other administrative duties.

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