Voters to decide on dedicated sheriff’s deputy patrol for community north of Grand Rapids
ALGOMA TOWNSHIP, MI – Algoma Township voters in May will decide whether they want a dedicated Kent County sheriff’s deputy to patrol the township 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
If approved by Algoma voters, and if neighboring Courtland Township approves a similar measure, the patrol would be split between the two townships as a cost-savings measure.
The new patrol would augment the four road patrol units currently assigned 24/7 to an eight township region in northern Kent County that includes Algoma Township.
The millage question of 0.54 mills for 10 years on the May 2 ballot would also provide a non-General Fund funding source for the one Kent County sheriff’s deputy who currently works in Algoma Township as a community police officer.
Algoma Township trustees approved last week placing the millage question on the ballot.
Trustees that day also approved asking voters May 2 if they want to leave the Kent District Library (KDL) system – a move that township leaders say will save residents money by providing a cheaper library service in KDL’s place.
The details for KDL’s replacement, should residents want to leave, are still being worked out. Algoma Township Supervisor Kevin Green said the township will likely hold town halls in February or March to gather resident input.
RELATED: Will this township leave Kent District Library system behind? Voters to decide.
Green said the voter question about adding a dedicated patrol isn’t about rising crime but is about preparing for the future and lowering response times at a good value by partnering with Courtland Township.
The total annual cost of a dedicated road patrol between the two townships seven days a week from 7 am to 7 pm is about $270,000, he said. Algoma, which has about twice as many calls for service as Courtland, would pay a larger portion of that total cost at about $180,000.
The sheriff’s deputy who serves as a community police officer in Algoma works 7 am to 5 pm Monday through Thursday and is largely tasked with taking a more proactive approach, such as building relationships, connecting people with resources and conducting investigations, Green said. And while the deputy responds to some calls for service, it’s not her primary objective.
Additionally, Green said, the majority of calls for service in the township happened daily between noon and 7 pm and on weekends.
The annual cost of the community policing deputy is about $120,000. The proposed 0.54 mill millage is expected to generate about $308,532 per year.
Algoma Township voters will also decide May 2 on a renewal and increase of the millage supporting fire services in the township.
The millage of about 1.41 mills would generate about $805,611 a year for 10 years to support operations and maintenance of the Algoma Township Fire Department and the purchasing and improvement of equipment, facilities, vehicles and more for the purpose of firefighting.
The question asks to renew the current millage of about 0.91 mills and add an additional 0.5 mills.
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