County Board Accepts State Dispatch Grant

A resolution accepting a $177,500 state grant to help pay for funds related to dispatch consolidation between the county sheriff’s office and the city of Ann Arbor was approved by the Washtenaw County board of commissioners at their March 7, 2012 meeting. The grant was significantly less than the $698,625 that had been requested. Part of the amount that was denied was a $500,000 request related to transition costs for the city of Ann Arbor.

The award came from the state’s Economic Vitality Incentive program (EVIP), which provides incentives for local governments to collaborate and combine operations. The county board had approved the dispatch consolidation at its Jan. 18, 2012 meeting. The proposal had previously been authorized by the Ann Arbor city council on Dec. 5, 2011. [For additional background, see Chronicle coverage: "Ann Arbor, Washtenaw: Joint 911 Dispatch?"]

Five requests had been made to the EVIP program related to this consolidation. The state denied a $500,000 request from the city of Ann Arbor for transition costs related to paying out leave banks, pension, VEBA and associated costs for terminated employees. Also denied was a $21,125 request from the sheriff’s office to cover 25% of the current dispatch manager’s annual salary and benefits, for time spent handling the transition.

The state did award three other requests from the sheriff’s office: (1) $65,000 for a metro dispatch project manager (an outside consultant); $37,500 to cover the cost of newly created dispatch coordinator jobs for three months, prior to the contract with Ann Arbor taking effect; and (3) $75,000 to pay for an instructional design consultant who is redesigning the sheriff’s Communications Training Officer (CTO) program for dispatch. That $75,000 will also cover a portion of employee wages for time spent cross-training.

The board’s resolution accepting the award also amended the previously approved county general fund budget for 2012. The line item for state revenue was amended from the original $4,810,249 to 4,987,749 – reflecting the additional $177,500 state grant. The total 2012 general fund budget is now $99,419,930.

This brief was filed from the boardroom of the county administration building, 220 N. Main St. in Ann Arbor. A more detailed report will follow: [link]