By Amanda Amsel
The Prairie Township trustees unanimously approved the 2016 agreement with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office to continue police protection.
The agreement will pay the sheriff’s office $804,765 a year, plus overtime. However, according to Prairie Township Administrator Tracy Hatmaker, the cap amount the township will pay the sheriff’s office will be $850,000.
According to Hatmaker, the township paid the sheriff’s office $4,000 in overtime in 2015, so they don’t anticipate reaching the allocated $850,000.
“This would result in a total charge of about $810,000 or so,” Hatmaker said. “This agreement will result in two cars dedicated to Prairie Township. One every day for 24 hours, one every day for 16 hours. This is in addition to other cars that are assigned to the area, but not dedicated by contract.”
The agreement will result in the township paying the sheriff’s office 1.16 percent more in 2016, than in 2015. In 2015, the base amount for the contract was $795,559.
The reason for the increase can be attributed to cost of living increases, equipment and overall inflation.
According to Hatmaker, Prairie Township has not had any issues with the service provided by the sheriff’s office and is pleased to be able to continue to work with them.
“Prairie Township has not had any issues with the Franklin County Sheriff, so renewing the contract was a no-brainer,” he said.
Last year, the township had hoped to partner further with the sheriff’s office by bringing a substation to the township. The township even went into contract on an 8,400 square foot building located in Prairie Township. However, before the paperwork was complete on the $690,000 purchase, the deal fell through.
“In the midst of us making arrangements to acquire the building and lease it to the county, we were told the county is legally obligated to put this project out to bid,” said Hatmaker. “Once the county released the RFP, the agreement was not what we originally discussed.”
The township planned on getting a 20-year bond issue to fund the building and the sheriff’s office was supposed to stay in the building for 20 years, paying approximately $109,000 a year in rent. After 20 years the building would have been paid off and the sheriff’s office could have stayed or they could have left, either way the township would have owned the building and recouped all their expenses.
“However when the RFP came out it was only for five years,” Hatmaker said. “We decided to not even bid on the proposal because we need more of an obligation from the county than five years.”
The township had already submitted an offer on the building that was accepted, however according to Hatmaker that offer was contingent on an agreement with the county.
“That contract basically was voided because a deal was not made with the county,” Hatmaker said.
According to Hatmker, no others bided on the proposal, so the township is once again working with the sheriff’s to potentially bring this substation to the township.
“This is a priority for 2016,” Hatmaker said. “We will be meeting with FCSO officials in the coming weeks to reboot this effort.