Niles City to bill township $27,000 for dispatch services

Published 2:52 am Saturday, September 25, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Niles City officials announced that beginning Oct. 1, they will be billing Niles Township an additional $27,000 a year for dispatcher services provided to the township police department.
The announcement came during a special meeting with the press at Niles City Hall Friday afternoon.
Since 1989, the Niles Police Department has provided one full-time dispatcher to the Niles Township Police Department at a cost of $17,000 a year.
Niles City Administrator Terry Eull said that the salary of a full-time dispatcher is now approximately $44,000 a year. The city has been covering the difference as the cost has gone up over the years.
Eull said that recent budget trouble has forced the city to address the situation. "$17,000 does not cover the cost for the amount of calls the center receives for the township area," he said.
Eull projects the city will end its fiscal year on Sept. 30 with a deficit of approximately $200,000. The heavy storms in late July, which cost the city over $400,000, had a significant impact on the city budget, he added.
There are currently 10 full-time dispatchers and one part-time dispatcher working at the Niles Law Enforcement Complex, 1600 Silverbrook Ave.
Five full-time dispatchers are provided by the Niles City Police Department, one is provided by the Michigan State Police, and the remaining four full-time dispatchers and one part-time are provided by 911 services.
The township has made no formal response to a letter sent by the city on Sept. 17. Should the township refuse to pay the extra $27,000, Niles City Police would not provide a dispatcher for the township.
Eull wanted to assure citizens that the move would only affect non-911 calls.
The city also announced that beginning Sept. 30, Niles City Police would not respond to any calls for Niles Township, emergency or otherwise, when the township does not have any cars out on patrol.
The primary concern of the city was that the city police department was being spread too thin.
Eull said he was particularly concerned that police would not be available to respond to situations in the city because they were covering the township.
McCauslin said that the city has submitted proposals to the township to help them (the township) maintain a 24-hour police force.
When asked if the decision will affect the relationship between the city and township, McCauslin responded, "We sincerely hope this does not affect our relationship with the township. We look forward to maintaining our partnership with the township."
McCauslin and Eull both agreed that their primary concern is the safety and protection of the city and its citizens.