In a special meeting on Monday, that lasted two minutes, the Belleville City Council unanimously approved a one-year agreement with Van Buren Township for dispatch and lock-up services.
“This way we know we have dispatch and they know they’ll get paid,” said Mayor Richard Smith after the meeting.
On Dec. 6, the council had considered a two-year agreement with VBT, but some issues came up and the council put off its vote to the Dec. 13 special session.
Mayor Smith said after the first of the year the city and township plan to meet together to solve the issues and redo the contract.
The contract for 2011 totals $140,000, $120,400 of that for dispatch and $19,600 for lockup. This is a 7% increase from the 2010 contract.
The second year of the agreement, for 2012, had been set at $150,000.
The VBT Board then approved the one-year agreement at its Dec. 14 meeting.
In a memo to the VBT Board, Public Safety Director Carl McClanahan said he and Supervisor Paul White met four times over the past several months with Mayor Smith and City Manager Diana Kollmeyer to negotiate the terms and conditions of the agreement.
The group came up with fees for two years, but “a couple council members” objected to some of the language.
White, McClanahan, Smith and Kollmeyer met again on Dec. 9 in an attempt to resolve the issues.
In his memo, McClanahan said: “However, because the current agreement expires Dec. 31, 2010, the parties agreed to a one-year agreement, pending the approval of the Belleville City Council, with the understanding that we will negotiate a multi-year agreement early next year for the purpose of clarifying certain language.”
The main sticking point for the City Council members was the portion of the contract that gives VBT power to collect more fees than agreed upon if the township dispatch/lockup expenses are more than anticipated.
McClanahan pointed out this language was a part of the previous agreement and the city had gone five years under that agreement.
He said Tuscan Manor was a major disaster in the city that the township handled and, “We committed a lot of resources for no extra fee.”
Trustee Jeff Jahr said government cooperation is important, “but it can’t be a one-way street… We shouldn’t go hat in hand to ask to provide services just because we’re the big, bad township surrounding them.”
Supervisor White said, “We have to protect our township at all costs … but this is a benefit to the city.”