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Moving sheriff unit makes money for town, saves some for county

9:42 am February 22nd, 2013

The Dispatch
The town of Eatonville is set to become a landlord for Pierce County’s Sheriff Department following the approval last week of a plan to lease part of Town Hall to the department for its Mountain Detachment.
The 20-officer unit that covers unincorporated areas outside Eatonville and elsewhere in south Pierce County will have its office in the basement of Town Hall. The relocation from the detachment’s hub that’s about two miles outside of town will take effect after its new space is remodeled.
A five-year lease that the Town Council agreed to Feb. 11 calls for the county to pay $30,000 a year ($2,500 a month) in rent. The county also plans to contribute $40,000 to the cost of remodeling to fits its needs, including converting two jail cells into office space. The cells aren’t being used by the town’s Police Department to house prisoners.
The town may pay for some of the remodeling, though the county has agreed to shoulder most of the expense, officials said.
The Mountain Detachment currently is based in a small office on Eatonville Cutoff Road, near State Route 161. The new location will be more central for the unit’s 700-square-mile coverage area, according to Ed Troyer, a Sheriff Department spokesman.
Communities served by the unit include Graham, Elbe, Ashford, Spanaway, Roy and McKenna, plus unincorporated areas near Eatonville and the city of Orting, which have their own police.
Troyer said the county will save money at its new base. The county is budgeted to spend a combined $61,450 in rent and maintenance in 2013 for the 1,000-square-feet structure the detachment now occupies.
“So you can see the move saves us $30,000 a year,” Troyer said.
An earlier report that the county owns the building was incorrect. The county did buy the building and move it to its current site, but Troyer said ownership was transferred to Mike Williams, who also owns the land.
Williams said he hopes to find a new tenant for the building after the Sheriff Department moves out.

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