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Aurora Deal Could Mean More Police Officers Without Raising Taxes

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A deal reached Friday evening between the Aurora City Council and the city’s police union could scrap a ballot measure this November.

The measure would ask voters to approve a property tax increase to pay for more officers. But the council and the union struck a deal that would avoid a tax increase.

Instead of having to hire 32 new officers next year at a cost of more than $3 million a year, the city will spread out the hiring over 10 years. Now it will hire 1.6 officers every other year, possibly saving the city around $40 million over a decade.

“This is huge from a standpoint it demonstrates how unions and city officials can come together,” Mark Finnon with the Aurora Police Association said.

“It was the last minute, but we did reach an agreement that would be good for the citizens, good for the budget, and good for the police,” Aurora councilwoman Marsha Berzins said.

For years the city has be required to hire two police officers per 1,000 residents. The city’s budget can’t sustain the mandate and changes needed to be made.

The agreement is only tentative. The union members have to decide to approve it. If they don’t approve it, voters will have to decide to raise property taxes or not to fund the mandate. Finnon said he confident the agreement will be approved.

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