Township board still divided on police issuePublished 9:41am Tuesday, September 22, 2009
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
Monday night’s relatively standard meeting of the Niles Charter Township Board may have given a glimpse into tonight’s second budget hearing.
Before the board on Monday were a list of resolutions to be passed which included a renewal of the 1 mill levy that voters passed last November for police protection by the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department.
The resolution was passed by the board with Supervisor Jim Kidwell and Trustee Michael Bailey in opposition.
Last Monday, Kidwell announced his desire for a Niles Township Police Department when he included funding for such an operation in his budget proposal to the board.
Kidwell claimed prior to the presentation of his budget that his police department, which would be based out of the Law Enforcement Complex on Silverbrook, home of both the Niles City Police Department and Michigan State Police, would have significant savings in cost in comparison to the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department.
Sheriff Paul Bailey disputed that claim, along with some members of the board, saying that Kidwell was working off of preliminary figures rather than a finalized number.
That number was presented last night, coming in at just over $838,000.
Kidwell has maintained that the current choice of police protection could be changed, should the township board find it in their interest to do so.
Meaning that even with revisions to his budget, Kidwell may not abandon the idea of a township run police department.
The board will meet again tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Niles Township Hall for a second budget hearing.