By Timothy Cox
MENDON -- Village officials plan to sign a four-year contract with the Mercer County Sheriff's Office for police protection inside the town.
A one-year contract that served as a pilot test apparently has worked out well for both sides, and officials are eager to strike a new, longer-term deal. Sheriff Jeff Grey and village officials agreed to renew the existing deal at Tuesday's village council meeting. Council members are expected to vote on the contract next month.
The existing contract expires April 1. The proposed renewal would run through the same date in 2009. That means village officials would negotiate a new contract with a newly elected sheriff. Grey, only two months into his second term in office, said he plans to seek office again in four years.
The new contract would include the same $20,200 budget for police patrol hours. Mendon pays an overtime rate of $27.70 under the current deal, a rate expected to increase 2-3 percent for this year. Grey said he does not expect the higher per hour costs to reduce the amount of coverage the town receives because the town is on pace to spend less than the total $20,200 for the current year.
"We're going to spend that money just like we would our own money," Grey said. "We're trying not to spend it just because you said we could." The contract is structured so that either side can call for the adjustment of patrol hours based on demand. The town is not billed for residential complaints, traffic accidents or other calls handled by the sheriff's office during non-patrol hours. The contract is aimed at providing patrols to create a visible police presence in the town. Officials track past statistics to have deputies around at optimal times.
"It's went better than we even expected," council President Roy "Butch" Davis said. "We actually saved money."