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Sharing services

Police could join fire, library on list for consolidation

May 12, 2010 - Library, fire and possibly police services will be shared between the City of the Village of Clarkston and Independence Township.

Township Board of Trustees approved the three contracts 6-1 and asked Township Attorney Steve Joppich to look at the contracts and make necessary changes. Clarkston City Council had approved the contracts on April 12. The police contract between the township and the city is contingent upon whether city voters approve a millage to keep the city police in an August election.

In all three agreements 10 percent administrative fee has been previously charged under these agreements is not included in the agreements," Joppich said. "There are other miscellaneous changes in the fire and Library services agreement that are more of a I would call non-substantial changes, but they are essentially the same agreement as the township previously have had, except the issue of administrative fees."

Joppich also noted he had a "number of concerns" with the police contract in how it works with the contract between the township and Oakland County Sheriff's Department.

Trustee Neil Wallace said he'd like to see in the contracts a specific date payments should be made by, but he had no problem with canceling the administrative fee.

"The village is paying us money to provide the service. There is no significant additional incremental cost to the township to provide that service," Wallace said. "We already have the library facilities and the fire facilities, we already have the contract with the sheriffs. It would not be necessary for us to expand that contract, our costs don't go up significantly and yet we have additional funds."

Trustee Mark Petterson agreed with Wallace concerning the administrative fee and expressed concerns about being paid at the end of the year.

Our departments have already provided that service and taken that out of their budget," he said. "Given the village city's financial future and our townships financial future I think it would be best if we could find some way for them to pay us quarterly instead of one lump sum at the end of the year."

Treasurer Curt Carson asked Joppich if it was typical for one municipality to provide service to another without an administrative fee. Joppich said he's seen it both ways.

"We currently charge even our own departments for an administrative fee and to not charge another community when we're providing services I think is an issue," he said. "Without this fee we wouldn't be able to operate administratively in this township."

Carson said he also wanted to see clause for interest or a late fee if the township is not paid by a certain due date.

Trustee David Lohmeier was also a proponent of a quarterly payment.

"It would be better from a cash flow standpoint, (but) I have sneaky suspicion the answer's going to be 'we can't do it not that we don't want to do it,' Lohmeier said. "I'd caution us not to make that an ultimatum as to maybe entering into a conversation."

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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