Gallaway disbands police department because of budget shortfalls

By Justin Hanson - bio | email

GALLAWAY, TN (WMC-TV) - Gallaway's slow economy has forced local officials to take drastic measures, which include disbanding the town's police department.

To the dismay of residents, all but one of Gallaway's police cars were behind a fence and off the streets Wednesday.

"Should be no excuse not to have a police department, or at least one patrolman at all times," resident Lamar Reynolds said.

Reynolds, who has lived in Gallaway for thirty years, said he's heard about the town's budget crunch.

"I don't know what's going to happen," he said.  "Roads are in bad shape. We have no money, and that's all they say."

Gallaway Mayor Nick Berretta said the town was forced to cut something out of the budget because of a decrease in sales tax revenue.

Berretta said revenue dropped nearly five thousand dollars in April, which is a lot for a town of less than 1,000 people.

"We're just a business, and we can't spend what we don't have," he said.

Berretta said $200,000 of the town's $500,000 budget goes to fund the police department. Local officials hope revenue will go back up before they have to take other measures to get more money.

"The same people are also concerned about having their property taxes raised," Berretta said. "It's a two-bit ax - sharp on both sides."

While residents are upset about not having a police force, local officials hope this is a temporary fix to their financial woes.

Starting Friday, the Fayette County Sheriff's department will take over law enforcement in Gallaway. City leaders are hoping to re-instate the police department sometime this summer.

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