March 05, 2014 - Oxford Township's switch from local to county dispatch will be delayed by 20 days due to the slow-turning wheels of government.
If all goes according to plan, the Oakland County Sheriff's Office will begin handling all of the township and village's fire and emergency medical calls on Monday, April 21.
Originally, officials on both sides had planned to make the switch on Tuesday, April 1. The township had formally set this as the tentative date to stop receiving dispatch services from the Oxford Village Police Dept.
But, according to Mel Maier, the county's director of communications, the dispatch contract must still be approved by both sides.
Once the one-year contract is approved by the township board, it must then be okayed by the county Board of Commissioners.
Township officials are expected to vote on the contract, under which the municipality would pay $45,005 for dispatch services, at their March 12 meeting. However, the soonest the county board would be able to vote is April 17.
"It has to go through a couple committees on our side before it gets up to the board," Maier said. "The calendar is against us. We're fighting the schedules."
Undersheriff Mike McCabe explained the contract must first go to the Public Services Committee on March 11. Then it goes before the full board of commissioners on March 19. The board will then refer the contract to the Human Resources and Finance committees on April 2 and 3, respectively. It comes back to the county board for a vote April 17.
"It's just the process," McCabe said. "That's how it works."
A start date of Friday, April 18 was discussed, but Maier said he and Oxford Fire Chief Pete Scholz agreed it would be better to make the switch on a Monday as opposed to heading into a weekend.
Maier noted that just because the contract won't be in place by April 1, doesn't mean county won't be able to begin handling Oxford's calls if necessary.
"We're still expecting to have everything in place by April 1," he said. "We're not changing that date (with regard to the communications infrastructure)."
While the county doesn't anticipate this 20-day delay causing any problems, Maier said he doesn't want to risk leaving the township in a position where it doesn't have dispatch services for one reason or another.
"This way we're going to be ready no matter what's going on," he said.
In the dispatch services termination agreement approved by both the township board and village council, the village agreed "to provide dispatch services, as is, to the township until the termination date."
Village Manager Joe Young indicated this delay will not result in the village cutting off service to the township prior to April 21.
"We're with them until they switch," he said. "We're going to continue to serve the citizens out here."
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.