City report: Crime high, salaries low in Shelton


Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

Compared to 108 other cities and municipalities, Shelton residents have low salaries, a high crime rate and less land dedicated to parks and trails.

In his final meeting as city administrator before retiring, Dave O'Leary on Monday ran through the city's 2015 performance measures at a meeting of the Shelton City Commission.

The report by ICMA Insights includes 69 comparative measures among 109 cities and counties across the country. All the statistics come from the U.S. Census and figures reported by the municipalities. This is the second year Shelton has participated in the program.

Shelton can compare itself to other cities, but the real value is how "you compare yourself from one year to the next," O'Leary said.

O'Leary said the report shows the number of DUIs decreased from 5.31 for every 1,000 residents in 2014, to 3.97 last year. He also pointed out that the city experienced a slight increase in residents with college degrees in one year, from 10 percent to 14 percent.

But that number is still low, and many of the statistics paint a grim picture.

Each Shelton Police officer was dispatched to an average of 567 calls, an increase from 531 in 2014.

''That's a really high number," O'Leary said. "We have a fairly high crime rate."

The median household income of $40,833 also is low, O'Leary said.

For a city set amidst scenic splendor, Shelton fared poorly with only 3.22 acres per 1,000 population dedicated to park land. The city only has 0.28 trail miles dedicated for every 1,000 residents.

Other facts from the report:

Shelton got a little younger between 2014 and 2015, with the percentage of residents younger than 18 increasing from 26 to 27 percent.

Property tax is low at $198 per capita, and $212 sales tax.

Shelton's heavy-duty vehicles are ancient, with city trucks that weigh between 10,000 and 19,500 pounds averaging 18.5 years old.

City employees average 12 years with the municipality.

The number of city employees represented by a union dropped from almost 77 percent in 2014 to 72.5 percent in 2015.

Shelton has 1.79 police officers for every 1,000 residents. "We don't have a lot," O'Leary said. "So our guys tend to be busy due to that.''

Mayor Gary Cronce called the report "a good thing, and not expensive."

O'Leary said the city's participation in the report cost about $1,200 to $1,500, and about $2,000 worth of his time.

O'Leary urged the commissioners to use the figures in the report to make improvements.

''You're kind of out here by yourself; you don't know what's happening in other cities," he said.

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