July 31, 2013 - A proposal from the Village of Lake Orion to begin contracting with the Oxford Village Police Department for 9-1-1/police dispatch services caused a bit of stir at last week's council meeting.
"Unless I'm reading it wrong, it's going to cost us more money," said village President Tony Albensi.
"You read it right," said village attorney Bob Davis.
Albensi was referring to the fact that under the proposal, Lake Orion would pay Oxford $20,000 annually for dispatch services beginning Jan. 1, 2014 or sooner. However, Oxford would be required to hire one of Lake Orion's full-time dispatchers.
Adding a full-time dispatcher would cost the village approximately $60,000 annually in wages and fringe benefits, resulting in a $40,000 loss for the municipality.
"The Lake Orion proposal doesn't save us money, it costs us money," Albensi said.
Oxford Village Police Chief Mike Neymanowski was upset with Lake Orion's proposal and he let that village's police chief, Jerry Narsh, who attended the meeting, know it.
He stood at the podium and told Narsh he felt "blind-sided" by it.
"I need an explanation from you because we've been in talks here for the last two years to . . . collaborate to save money for both our agencies," Neymanowski said. "For you to come up here with this is ridiculous. I need an explanation."
Narsh, who wrote the July 16 memo outlining the proposal, offered an explanation to Neymanowski and council.
"This proposal is not intended, at this point, to be a destination, so much as a starting point," he said.
Narsh said his intent wasn't to present the proposal that night. He wants to "sit down and discuss" with the village administration "the options that could be developed out of this proposal."
At its July 22 meeting, the Lake Orion Village Council voted to submit Narsh's proposal to Oxford and give its neighbor to the north an Aug. 21 deadline to act on it.
"It has always been, I believe, the intent and the spirit of our council and our police department to (continue) working with the Village of Oxford . . . and (see) what we can do to keep local dispatch," Narsh told Oxford's council. "There are many, many benefits."
"The concept is to keep our dispatch centers together, keeping that local knowledge and (us) working together," he added.
In a 3-2 vote, council directed village Manager Joe Young to continue negotiations with Lake Orion.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.