Every year, Delhi Township shells out $2.2 million for the protective services of the Ingham County Sheriff's Department. But some board members are wondering if that $2.2 million is growing too steep for Delhi's pockets.
"It's the fiduciary responsibility of the Township board to revisit these costs," says township manager John Elsinga.
So the board of trustees is researching what's smartest financially: to continue a contract with the sheriff's department or to create their own police force.
"We're going to use a consultant" familiar with the area, Elsinga says. "They've agreed to do the study for under $10,000."
"I think it's an excellent idea," says Ingham County Undersheriff and Delhi Township resident Matthew Myers. "The trustees of Delhi Township are saying, 'Look. Let's be good keepers of the money, let's take a look and see how much it all costs.'"
Both Elsinga and Myers say this isn't about Ingham County's performance; it's strictly financial.
"The level of service by the county to date has been excellent," Elsinga says.
And Myers says eliminating the Delhi contract wouldn't devastate the sheriff's department financially.
"All we're doing is being reimbursed for services we're providing," Myers says. "In terms of financial hardship, there would be none."
The study should be completed by May, and Elsinga says the board will debate its findings in June at the annual goals and initiatives meeting.
"By evaluating the actual costs, the county and township will learn what the costs should be, and we'll go from there," he says.
In the mean time, Elsinga is recommending the township should continue its four-year contract with the county. Even if Delhi acts to build its own police department, the process would most likely take more than a year.