March 24, 2010 What do Capac residents expect from law enforcement and how much is it willing to pay to meet those expectations?
Village councilmembers have much to consider regarding the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department bid to offer police services to the village for much less than their own department currently requires.
The current police budget for the village is almost $350,000 and employs a part-time chief, one full-time officer and a half-dozen or so part-timers for an average 14 hours of police protection a day.
Sheriff Tim Donnellon says he can offer coverage for significantly less money with a three year deal—$206,971 in the first year; $229,515 for year number two and $254,812 for the third year of the contract. Donnellon also said he'd hire the department's current full time officer and mentioned additional savings to the village in terms of retirement and other benefits.
In a village that's noted as topping the county's list for tax rates, the sheriff's proposal requires serious consideration.
As the village has worked its way out of the red over the past five years, taxpayers have yet to see any relief in their bills. This, it would seem, should be among the major areas of concern with regard to any decision—a decision the taxpayers should have a voice in.
The council should follow Almont Township's lead on an issue that involved the community and issue a written survey to residents for their input on the matter. From crunching numbers to long-term goals and benefits to the community, the proposal should be in the spotlight for all to examine. We urge councilmembers to make sure residents are involved in the process by actively seeking their input on the issue of law enforcement in the village.