MARBLE FALLS, Texas (KXAN) - New budget cuts in the Marble Falls Police Department will kick in Oct. 1, leaving some people who live there worrying that community safety could be affected.
City leaders say the cuts have to be made to pay for a new police station in the city.
Store owner Debbie Brown is on board with the station relocating. She's been managing her store in downtown Marble Falls for the last year and likes the downtown vibe but thinks the police headquarters need to move away from the tourism district.
"At one time it probably was a good fit for Main Street," Brown said. "But we need Main Street to have retail and be the shopping district that we are all trying to make it so it's time for out police department to move to another location".
Brown isn't worried about the budget cuts and says there's more to gain by moving the police station.
"We need police, our fire, and our EMS," she said. "I hate to cut them but we all have to look at our budget and make adjustments."
The city's manager says the reduction of nearly $300,000 from the police department is needed to pay the bond for the new $3 million headquarters that is expected to start construction by next year. He added raising taxes wasn't an option.
"Our citizens have been wanting us to move that station for many years," said city manager Ralph Hendricks. "The city bought land next to the fire station several years ago and we're going to utilize that property that we own and build new police station on that site."
Officials with the Texas Municipal Police Association say cutting funding to the police force money is no way to keep the city or its officers safe.
"In 2008 there were four officers working the streets at all times," said Noel Johnson with the TMPA. "They're down to as low as two officers per shift at the current time."
But Brown isn't worried about response time or a shrinking police force and says she's willing to take her chances and help downtown business grow.
The city's police chief said service calls have declined by about 30 percent in the last five years. The cuts to the force reflect about the same rate. There were 27 officers on the force in 2008. There are 18 today.
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