(by Megan Edwards, Staff Writer - February 07, 2009)
Two Franklin County Sheriff's Office deputy sheriffs will maintain their presence in Prairie Township this year.
The Prairie Township board of trustees voted to renew a contract between the township and sheriff's office for the remainder of the year at a meeting Jan. 28. The contract comes up for review each year.
The trustees voted unanimously on the contract, which involves one full-time and one part-time sheriff. The service will cost the township $24,678 a month, or $296,145 per year, plus overtime. This year’s cost is a 5.1 percent increase from 2008, when the township paid a total of $281,000.
According to Township Administrator Tracy Hatmaker, the township enlists the assistance of the sheriff’s office for additional support that reaches beyond the base coverage the sheriff's office already provides for Prairie Township and others in the county.
“From my perspective, this has been a good deal for the township,” Hatmaker said at the township meeting.
Base coverage to the township is support the sheriff's office provides as a part of its function in the county and is calculated in the contract between Prairie Township and the sheriff’s office. Calculations such as area, population, households and square miles are figured into the contract each year.
Prairie Township’s contract includes a seven-day car and patrol, and a five-day car and patrol. To operate the seven-day car, it costs $216,885 this year, according to the contract. The five-day car and patrol will cost $79,259 this year. The costs include payroll, gas and maintenance.
Though the township is responsible for overtime the deputy sheriff's incur while working for the township, Hatmaker said overtime isn't an issue.
“We’re very strict about overtime,” he said. “It has only gone up a couple of percentage points over the last couple of years.”
Also at the Jan. 28 meeting, trustees learned the year-end numbers of the sheriff's office activity throughout the township. At the end of 2008, deputy sheriff's had responded to 6,235 dispatches, 442 domestic violence calls, 199 gun runs, filed 1,212 reports, did 2,404 business checks, made 77 felony arrests, issued 55 felony warrants, transported 340 prisoners, recovered 24 stolen vehicles and made 73 OVI arrests.
In other business, township trustees approved a contract for street sweeping service. The service will take place twice a year, once the week of April 6 and again, the week of Sept. 7. The cost of each sweep is $4,018, for a total of $8,036, an increase of $158 from the year before.