Downtown Middletown security contract not renewed; council didn’t have time to vote before deadline

A security company's contract to patrol downtown Middletown appears to be ending next month after Middletown City Council took no action to extend the six-month funding during Tuesday's meeting after hearing a presentation from Jeff Payne, executive director of Downtown Middletown Inc. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Caption
A security company's contract to patrol downtown Middletown appears to be ending next month after Middletown City Council took no action to extend the six-month funding during Tuesday's meeting after hearing a presentation from Jeff Payne, executive director of Downtown Middletown Inc. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The company that provided downtown security services the last six months in Middletown won’t be back in 2022.

Jeff Payne, executive director of Downtown Middletown Inc., made a recent presentation to City Council and said the 30-day cancellation clause expires on Nov. 23, seven days after the council meeting. Mayor Nicole Condrey said since there was no legislation on the agenda, council wouldn’t have the necessary time to vote before the cancellation deadline.

She told Payne he should have given council more time.

“That’s not how council works,” she told Payne.

In May, council voted 4-1, with Condrey voting no, to award a $49,724 grant to DMI to provide six months of unarmed security downtown as a pilot program.

Allied Universal Security Services was hired by DMI to provide security downtown in response to numerous businesses complaining about loitering, panhandling and homeless issues impacting their businesses.

The plan was for the two security officers to work closely with OneCity for Recovery, a Mason-based company, and the Middletown police department to curtail the homeless population in the 10-block downtown. OneCity was paid $25,000 for a six-month contract.

The security agency provided two guards who patrolled downtown for eight-hour shifts from 8 a.m. to midnight Wednesday through Sunday. When there was an issue that required assistance from the Middletown police department, the security officer filled out an incident report, Payne said.

From when the program began on June 30 through September, there were 39 incident reports, Payne told council. Given that number, Condrey said it cost $1,282 per incident. Payne said the cost per incident would be lower because the number of incidents for October, November and December were not included in his presentation.

Council member Tal Moon said he thought the grant the city provided DMI was “a bridge” to help with finances and not “a permanent program.”

When asked by council member Monica Nenni, a downtown business owner, about how many people were referred to OneCity, Payne said he didn’t have that information available that night.

He also didn’t have the total number of calls for service, he told Nenni.

About the Author