Sheriff’s Office to Handle Ann Arbor Dispatch

At its Dec. 5, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council authorized a $759,089 annual contract with the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office to handle police dispatch operation for the city of Ann Arbor. The five-year agreement is anticipated to start in March of 2012. The Washtenaw County board of commissioners will still need to sign off on the deal.

According to the staff memo accompanying the council’s resolution, the city of Ann Arbor expects to realize at least $500,000 in savings annually compared to continuing to employ its own dispatchers. The cost savings arise from the fact that not all of the city’s current dispatchers would be hired on by the sheriff’s office. Around four city of Ann Arbor dispatchers would not have dispatching jobs under the new arrangement.

The contract is offset by a $12,520 facility use fee paid by the county to the city. The Washtenaw County sheriff’s office is already co-located with Ann Arbor police dispatch, in a facility above the city’s Fire Station #1 on Fifth Avenue just across the street from the municipal center. The sheriff’s office also currently handles dispatching services for  Northfield Township, Michigan State Police, Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority and the city of Ypsilanti. [Additional Chronicle coverage: "Ann Arbor, Washtenaw: Joint 911 Dispatch?"]

According the staff memo accompanying the council’s resolution, the consolidation of dispatch operations would put the city in the state of Michigan’s Economic Vitality Incentive Plan. The MEVIP has replaced statutory state-shared revenue as the means that the state legislature uses to distribute to local governmental units their portion of the state’s sales tax. The distribution of a portion of the state sales tax to local units is based on the fact that in Michigan, local units have limited ability to generate revenue through taxes.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]