Flint Township View

Board agrees to join shared services study

FLINT TWP. — After flirting with the idea last August, the township board has taken another step toward sharing some municipal services with Swartz Creek and Mundy Township.

The board voted unanimously Monday night to pay its share of costs for a feasibility study to be conducted by Mark W. Nottley of Ann Arbor-based Municipal Consulting Services.

In his proposal Nottley said the study will look at police and fire operations, building, assessing and other community development activities.

The board agreed to spend approximately $13,000 — one-third of a $39,000 fee — for the study plus pay incidental expenses such as milage and printing capped at $1,000. Nottley said the fee is based on an estimated 300 hours of professional time.

He outlined a proposal in which he will spend 90 to 120 days doing a comprehensive analysis of the departments in questions. That will include staff interviews and subcontracting with experts to review and make recommendations about pertinent areas.

Nottley said the study will probably be completed and ready for review by midsummer.

He said his recommendations may include solutions that can be implemented quickly and others such as consolidating police departments that could take years.

Treasurer Sandra Wright said she was apprehensive about the township coming up on the short end of the deal.

“We have the largest amount of residents of these three jurisdictions and are the only one with a full-time fire department and sizable police department,’’ she said. “I am afraid we are going to get swamped and it is all going to be up to us. It scares me.”

Prior to the vote, Trustee Belenda Parker sought opinions from Police Chief George Sippert and Fire Chief John Ringwelski. Neither voiced objections and said they have heard similar consolidation discussions by public safety officials at various meetings and seminars they have attended.

“I have heard police officials around the country talking about consolidating much larger departments,” Sippert said. “One said that the full implementation took seven years and still is not completely done.’’

Ringwelski cited his familiarity with a recent situation in which the full-time Pontiac Fire Department was dissolved and taken over entirely by the Waterford Fire Department. He said he would look forward to anything that “will help to provide what we have now or something better.”

Trustee Frank Kasle asked Nottley about his credentials and past experiences in conducting this type of study.

Nottley referred to a lengthy list of previous work he has done and submitted with his proposal. Some of those jobs included combining fire department operations in Davison city and township; operational analysis of police, fire and other departments for shared services of Shelby Charter Township and surrounding communities in Macomb County; a shared-services study of nine major municipalities in Muskegon County commissioned by the Muskegon County Chamber of Commerce; an operational and locational analysis for reconfiguring fire station houses in Midland; and a feasibility study for combining Dewitt City and Township Police Departments into an authority. He has also done previous work for Mundy Township and Swartz Creek, he said.

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