Saugatuck & Douglas Arrive At Proposed Agreement On Police Overhead Costs
The two cities that share a police department have come to a proposed agreement over how much Saugatuck ought to reimburse Douglas for overhead costs, officials from the cities report.
“They had higher (administrative costs); we thought it should be lower so we met in middle ground,” Saugatuck City Treasurer Peter Stanislawski told The Local Observer Tuesday about a recent meeting with his counterpart, City Treasurer Robert Drexler, and other Douglas officials.
The proposed agreement - it still has to be approved by the councils of each city - brings police administrative costs down for Saugatuck from the projected $35,000 in fiscal year 2016/2017 to a flat fee of $20,000.
The Saugatuck-Douglas Police Department is owned and administrated by Douglas, while Saugatuck contracts for the service, including the extra police officers the city requires during the summer tourist season.
The cities equally contribute to the police budget, which annually totals $1 million.
“I do think the City of Saugatuck recognizes there are some administrative costs that are not included in the direct expenses,” said Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere Tuesday.
However, he also noted, “It (overhead compensation asked of Saugatuck) has been coming down substantially for a number of years and we revisit the issue every now and then,” noted LeFevere.
The previous fiscal year (2015/2016), the overhead expenses were $50,000, according to Drexler.
“A flat fixed amount seemed to make sense,” said LeFevere.
“A lot of activity (administrative and otherwise) for the police department don’t happen the same way or it doesn’t get accounted for in the same way; it is more event-driven than other departments,” added the Douglas city manager.
For now, a flat rate will remain an established way of accounting for overhead expenses.
Meanwhile, Saugatuck Township gets its police service provided by the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office and does have the option to obtain extra services for an additional cost to taxpayers beyond county taxes.
The Saugatuck-Douglas Police Department has eight full-time officers, including the police chief (full-time officers work in 12-hours shifts); two part-time, year-round officers; and two part-time seasonal officers (May through September).
The cities each have one full-time officer for 24-hour coverage. Additional police officers are used on the weekends and holidays during the summer tourist season.
Saugatuck, for example, has two additional part-time officers patrolling streets and one at the Saugatuck Oval Beach during the tourist season.