The good news: Cypress has won federal funding to help pay for two new police officers.
The bad news: Congress might take back the money.
City Manager Darrell Essex told the City Council on Monday night that the city has been granted federal anti-crime funds to partially pay for the hiring next summer of two officers. But later, in an interview, Essex acknowledged that the money could be in doubt because of a political tussle currently underway in Washington.
The new Republican majority in the Congress is trying to alter President Clinton's anti-crime measure, which was passed into law last year. The existing law provides some federal funds specifically for hiring 100,000 police nationwide. The Republican majority wants to reduce the amount of money in the bill and have it go to communities for crime-fighting with no strings attached.
President Clinton has promised to veto any change that alters his commitment to put 100,000 officers on the streets. Congress, however, could override the veto.
Essex said that although it is unclear how the Washington political fight will unravel, Cypress is making plans to hire two new officers by early summer.
Cypress Police Chief Daryl Wicker said the city has been notified that it will receive about $150,000 in federal funds over the next three years. "This is money for salary and fringe benefits" for two new officers, Wicker said. "This is an opportunity for us to add personnel and to build the Police Department both for now and the future."
Wicker noted that the city must provide some matching money in the hiring of the officers, but he said the city has budgeted to do this.