Paying for police protection could get a lot more expensive for thousands of people in Gaston County.
Bessemer City pays the Gaston County Police Department hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to patrol its streets, but now the county wants to double the cost of the service.
"We get excellent service from the county police," said City Council member Joe Will.
County leaders said the cost of that service is well below what it should be.
The city pays $420,000 a year, but the county wants to raise the cost to about $620,000 next year and $1.1 million by 2018. They said the cost of services and gasoline has increased drastically since the county began providing the service 14 years ago.
"It’s also costing the citizens of Gaston County who are also paying for their own police services so far," said Gaston County Commissioner Chad Brown.
Will said that kind of increase would ultimately lead to a tax hike.
"It's something we're not prepared to pay right now with being a small city,” he said.
Some leaders, even some citizens want the city to create its own police department.
Early estimates show that could cost more than $800,000 a year.
"It's something you can't make a quick decision on. We have to look at all the options and choose what’s best for us," said Will.
In a meeting Monday, city leaders will discuss all of their options and could make a decision. Eyewitness News was told the county wants an answer by the end of the month.