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Sheriff contract expires— talks ongoing

January 01, 2014 - Atlas Twp.-Tuesday was the last day of 2013 as well as the last day of a two-year contract with the Genesee County Sheriff Department.

On Dec. 16 the board of trustees went into closed session for deliberation regarding the contract. Township Attorney David Lattie explained the closed session was necessary due to the confidentiality of the police patrol areas and times in the community.

"The police coverage will continue as usual in the township," said Shirley Kautman-Jones, township supervisor. "The talks with the sheriff department will continue and we anticipate a new contract in January."

Jones would not indicate if there were any sticking points that may be holding up a new deal.

The two-year contract signed in 2011 with the sheriff included four deputies, along with funding for a part-time detective-sergeant, split between Fenton and the township. The residents of Vienna Township, who also have a contract with the sheriff's office for police coverage, are currently charged for the service. According to news reports, Vienna Township pays about $1 million a year for eight deputies to cover the area, while Fenton Township funds about $667,655 for each year for five full-time deputies and a part-time detective. The county sheriff's department also provides four full-time deputies and one part-time detective sergeant at a cost of $445,490 for Flushing Township..

The township established a contract with the Genesee County Sheriff's Department about 14 years ago, funded by 1 mill from area property owners. Since 2007 the cost for police protection has risen from $432,205 to $565,653 in 2012, about a 24 percent increase.

In May, by a vote of 576 yes to 382 no township voters approved 2.1 mills to fund police coverage for the community. The four year millage will fund a $565,000 contract. A township taxpayer with a $100,000 home would pay about $105 per year. The approved millage replaces the 1 mill levy along with $50 for improved lots and $25 for unimproved lots that expired last year.

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