Niles Township Board holds payment on building until answers are received

Published 12:34 am Thursday, September 2, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Niles Township Board members were surprised by the results of a recent space use assessment at the Niles Law Enforcement Complex and will not being paying its portion of the bill until they get some answers.
The joint usage facility, which is located at 1600 Silverbrook Avenue and owned by the State of Michigan, is shared by the Michigan State Police, Niles City Police Department and the Niles Township Police Department. The three departments split the cost for the upkeep of the building with each department's share determined by how much space of the building they use.
Michigan State Police Director of Management Services Shawn Sible said the State conducts an annual space use assessment to determine how much each department will contribute toward the upkeep of the complex.
Niles Township Clerk Marge Durm-Hiatt said the township board was surprised when they received a letter stating that the township police department was responsible for using 20 percent of the facility's space.
Before the building was constructed, the architect estimated the township's usage of the facility would be about 2.5 percent, she said.
Sible said the May 26 assessment revealed that the Niles Township Police Department was using more space than they were originally thought to be using.
He said some of the areas in question may be the common areas that are used by all of the departments.
Sible said some of the numbers may need to be adjusted and that the State is interested in working with the township to make sure they remain in the building.
Niles Township Supervisor William Myers has tried to call the State regarding the township's feelings about the assessment, but has not received a return call.
On Wednesday afternoon, Myers was writing a letter to let the State know that Niles Township would not be paying the 20 percent, or about $20,000, for the upkeep of the building.
The space use assessment had the City of Niles at 48 percent, or about $49,000, and the Michigan State Police at 32 percent, or about $33,000.
Sible said a representative from the township was invited to the assessment, but no one showed up. So, the assessment was completed with officials from the Michigan State Police and the Niles City Police Department.
Both Myers and Durm-Hiatt were unaware of any invitation to attend the assessment and would have liked to be a part of the process.
Myers mentioned the possibility of moving the police department back into the Niles Township office building on Bell Road if this can not be resolved.
But, it is Myers' hope to reach to an agreement that will allow the township to remain in the shared complex.
Durm-Hiatt agrees it would be beneficial to the township to remain in the building.
The board will not be taking any action on this issue until they hear back from the State.
Sible said he has not heard directly from anyone with the township, but looks forward to working with them.