Oxford deputies won't move to Orion substation any time soon
January 26, 2011 - It took one over-conservative Oxford treasurer and a generous landlord to move a substation-sharing proposal between Orion and Oxford off the table and into the can.
At least for now.
The plan was to combine housing for Oxford's police operation with the current Orion substation on Joslyn Road.
By combining housing and command staff with its neighboring community, Oxford could stave off a financial shortfall - unrescued when voters rejected a .75 police millage increase by two votes in November.
But the plan was expected to be a shot in the arm for Orion's police fund, as well.
"Sharing the command staff between Orion and Oxford would have saved us about $41,000," Naile, who was set to serve as top cop for both communities after the Oxford Township Board voted 6-0 in December to eliminate its substation commander, Lt. Larry Perry, as of Jan. 1. "We would have received some rent money, as well, but that number had not yet been determined."
Naile previously said modifications and an addition to the current substation were necessary to accommodate Oxford's 13 deputies.
Although Orion hadn't yet spent any money on plans for substation renovations in order to bring Oxford deputies to Orion, Naile and others spent a significant amount of time during the past several months drafting various plans for expansion as well as administrative and command changes.
Along with Naile, the Orion substation, located in the lower level of the township office building, currently houses two sergeants, two detectives, one school liaison and 21 patrol officers.
Earlier this month, Oxford Township Supervisor Bill Dunn told Orion trustees he had "100 percent backing" from his board to pursue the move, but last week Oxford trustees voted 5-2 to cut a deputy from the midnight shift, and keep its substation, along with the full-time secretary who staffs it.
The township was able to avoid making these cuts and consolidations because, according to Oxford Supervisor Bill Dunn, tax revenue projections provided by Treasurer Joe Ferrari were more conservative than necessary.
In addition, owners of the building that houses the Oxford substation, located at the Express Mini Storage facility on N. Lapeer Road, were also played a role in keeping Oxford deputies in Oxford when they cut the rent in half.
Instead of paying $34,716 annually, the substation rent will now cost Oxford Township $17,358. They'll have to pay their own electric bill, which amounts to $240 to $340 per month, as well.
In the meantime, Orion Township Supervisor Matthew Gibb told the board of trustees the two townships would continue to work together, and perhaps reconsider consolidation of the substations in the future.
"Our contract we approved last time is still our contract and we will continue to work with Lt. Naile to incrementally reduce our cost," said Gibb.
Orion's contract cost with the Oakland County Sheriff's Office was set at $3,349,817 for 2011.
Currently, the lieutenant, two sergeants, two detectives, one school liaison officer and 21 patrol deputies staff the Orion Township substation.
Like Gibb, Naile said consolidation -- when and if -- was uncertain.
"It's all undetermined at this point," he said. "What we are going to do is try to eliminate a lot of overtime shifts and switch (deputies) from one township to the other as needed to keep deputies on straight time."
Although the sheriff's office has been tossing around the "regional substation" idea with a number of its 15 contracted communities for several years, the Orion/Oxford proposal grew from a July 29 meeting when the OSCO brought those communities together to look resource sharing.
-CJ Carnacchio contributed to this story
Lake Orion Review Editor