NJ town disbanding police force

LAKE COMO, N.J. (AP) — A small New Jersey shore town plans to disband its 10-member police force because it can no longer afford it and will seek law enforcement services from a neighboring community, officials said.

Lake Como Mayor Brian Wilton said a request was sent Wednesday for proposals from Belmar, Spring Lake, Spring Lake Heights and Wall police departments to take over patrols.

Officials said to continue funding the police department, Lake Como would be required to raise property taxes higher than the 2 percent hike allowed by New Jersey law.

The Asbury Park Press reported that Lake Como would have had to ask voters for a tax increase that would cost 20 cents per $100 of home value. Wilton said a home valued at $350,000 would see a $651 municipal property tax increase.

Wilton said one reason for the funding problem is the quarter-square-mile town doesn't have a beach to raise revenue.

Belmar pulls in more than $3.4 million in total beach revenue, according to NJ.com.

Officials said seven of the 10 officers on Lake Como's force make over $100,000 a year.

"Public safety is paramount and you have to have a police department and you have to have a safe town," Wilton said. "But having our own police department for a town our size is something we can't afford."

Crime reports show Lake Como had three aggravated assaults and nine burglaries in 2013.

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