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Twp. cuts deputy, keeps substation



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January 19, 2011 - Oxford Township decided to cut a deputy from the midnight shift, but keep its Oakland County Sheriff's substation and the full-time secretary who staffs it.

Last week, the township board voted 5-2 to eliminate a deputy from the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift as a way to cut costs in light of decreased tax revenues and maintain a healthy fund balance in the police budget to see it through the next four years.

The decision will save the township $121,348 annually and leave the police budget with a projected fund balance of $222,998 as of Dec. 31, 2014.

Treasurer Joe Ferrari asked, "Will our residents notice a service decline?"

"As soon as you lose a person, of course, you could lose some service," said Sgt. Scott Patterson, commander of the Oxford Township substation. "Who knows what crime you're going to stop by just being seen in the public?"

However, Patterson noted, if a cut must be made, "I believe that's where I would cut first."

"That's (when) the calls for service are actually the lowest," the sergeant explained. "They'd still be able, in my opinion, to respond to all the dispatch calls."

The substation will now be staffed with 11 deputies, one patrol sergeant, one patrol investigator and one full-time secretary. The sheriff's 2011 contract, approved 7-0 by the board, will cost $1.576 million.

Officials last month voted to cut the lieutenant's position in order to save $150,605 annually.

Plans to get rid of the Oxford substation at the Express Mini Storage facility (2119 N. Lapeer Rd.) and move all of its officers into the Orion substation on Joslyn Rd. were nixed.

"We renegotiated the price for the substation," said Supervisor Bill Dunn, who noted the owners cut the rent in half.

Instead of paying $34,716 annually, the substation rent will now cost the township $17,358. However, the substation must now pay their portion of the monthly electric bill, which amounts to $240 to $340.

Plans to get rid of the substation's full-time secretary and utilize the one at the Orion substation were also scrapped.

Lori Collier will retain the position

Collier voluntarily agreed to add cleaning the substation to her job description, thereby saving the township $3,900 annually in janitorial costs. She will receive no additional pay for her new duties, nor will she work any additional hours.

The township was able to avoid making these cuts and consolidations because as Dunn explained the tax revenue projections provided by Ferrari were much more conservative than they actually needed to be.

Instead of using Ferrari's property tax revenue projection, which started out at $1.4 million and declined between now and 2014, the township utilized a more realistic projection of $1.7 million each year.

This additional $300,000 gave a big boost to the budget projections.

Although Oxford's deputies won't be moving down to Orion, Dunn noted the two substations will be working together to reduce overtime costs.

Right now, if a deputy calls in sick or takes a day off at either substation, in order to replace him or her, the township needs to pay overtime to put substitute on the road.

Instead of doing that, Oxford and Orion plan to work together so that when one township needs a substitute and the other township has more than enough patrol cars on the road, an extra deputy will be sent to the township in need, which would then pay a "straight time" rate for the officer as opposed to overtime.

The cost for a "straight time" deputy and patrol car is $44.99 per hour whereas the cost for an overtime officer and vehicle is $67.48 per hour.

The township that hires a "straight time" deputy as opposed to an overtime one saves $179.92 for an eight-hour shift. The supplying township receives $359.92 for that eight-hour shift to help reduce their costs

Saving on overtime is just the beginning of what Dunn hopes will be a fruitful, cooperative relationship between the two townships.

"We're going to continue to have dialogue with Orion Township to see if we can save money in other ways," Dunn said.

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.
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