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Delta officials are considering disbanding the city's five-member police department and contracting with the county for law enforcement.

"Some of our council people think it can save us money and do a better job," Delta Mayor Ruth Hansen told a public hearing attended by about 35 people. "I'm a little hesitant about it. I'd like to keep things under control of the city instead of turning too much more over to the county."Police Chief Roger Young said the discussion was prompted by tight budgets.

"It's just a matter of economics," he said. "The money just isn't there. Every year I go in for budget purposes and there are always cuts and slashes and so forth."

The city police department budget is $210,000 a year. Contracting with the county would cost $176,000 for 24-hour coverage.

Hansen said hidden costs may eat up the difference.

"There's animal control, and there might be some problems with our insurance, because we'd have fewer people," she said. "It makes you wonder exactly how much you will save."

Delta is the only municipality in Millard County with its own police department. The other towns have contracted out their law enforcement service to the county.

Millard County Sheriff Ed Phillips said contracting has been "a very positive thing" for Fillmore.

"Based on what their budget was at the time we started contracting in 1983," he said, "I feel they've saved in the neighborhood of $750,000 in that period of time."

Phillips said there are five deputies serving the east Millard area, five at the county jail in Fillmore, four in Delta and one assigned to the west desert.

There are about 14,000 people living in the county.

There are no hidden costs, Phillips said.

"Certain Delta equipment would be purchased to continue with this operation," he said. "The cost would be pro-rated over a period of a year or so on a contract."

City police officers would be hired as sheriff's deputies and the police department secretary retained. Hansen said they would get an increase in pay.

Response time to police calls would not suffer, and may even improve, Phillips said. The same dispatcher already handles calls for the sheriff's office and Delta police.

"Personally, I don't see how the response time would be any different than it is right now. I don't see any problem," Young said.