FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) – The rent is going up for the Fresno police department and there’s nothing they can do about it. The department’s K-9 and mounted patrol unit training center is located in Fresno on land owned by the Fresno Yosemite International Airport. The facility is directly across the street from the airport. However, the airport says they don’t have a choice and they have to raise the rent.
The Fresno Police Department is looking at options to see what is in their best financial interest.
“We aren’t in a position where we feel it’s unfair, but again we have to look at what’s most economically advantageous for us,” says Deputy Chief Keith Foster.
The Fresno Police Department Deputy Chief says the department is facing a steep rent increase from $1235 to $4110-dollars. So, the department is looking at two options: either stay at the facility next to the airport or pay to move the unit’s seven horses and equipment 15-miles away to the department’s regional training center in southwest Fresno.
“We have to be good stewards of our fiscal resources and we have to look at ways to save on costs,” adds the Deputy Chief.
However, is moving this facility where K-9’s also train to the outskirts of the city potentially dangerous if there’s an emergency and a police dog is needed?
“Oh absolutely not,” says Deputy Chief Keith Foster, “The most important is the actual training, the location is secondary.”
The Fresno Yosemite International Airport’s interim director of aviation says that the airport does not have a choice. They have to raise the rent to fair market value, because it’s an FAA requirement.
“Periodically they’ll check in with us and say “Hey are you getting rent for this one at fair market value? Are you getting it from that one? So, they really track this,” says Kevin Meikle, Interim Director of Aviation.
Meikle adds that the airport is a business that has to make money and can’t give breaks to anyone.
“All of our renters whether they’re other city departments or private enterprises, they all need to be treated on an equal basis,” adds Meikle.
The airport and police department are currently in negotiations. They’re talking about keeping the rent the same rate for this year and then gradually increasing it over the next couple of years.
The mounted patrol unit usually works events, like the Fresno Fair, and is made up of police reserves and volunteers. The entire unit is paid for by donations.