November 28, 2014

Early talks held regarding sharing services with Ogemaw County

By John Fischer|Staff writer
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ARENAC COUNTY — The Arenac County Board of Commissioners has already encouraged departments operating in the Arenac County Courthouse to share equipment with one another, but now the commissioners are looking at a new way to share – with other counties.

Arenac County District IV Commissioner Ronald Branda says he has casually discussed the possibility of shared services for emergency dispatch and/or animal control with Ogemaw County Commissioner Peter Hennard.

“I mentioned E-911 to Pete and he thought it was definitely a possibility that should be discussed in the future,” Branda said. “We (Arenac) have a millage for our 911 operations, but Ogemaw has to use funds from their General Fund.”

“Something would have to be worked out so that Arenac citizens wouldn’t be the only source of funding…they’d (Ogemaw) probably have to get a millage, too.”

He added none of the talks have been in a formal matter and a lot of hard numbers and information would have to be determined and evaluated before proceeding with the idea of inter-county shared services.

“We (Brand and Hennard) serve on a NEMSCA (Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency) board together and we’ve just mentioned the possibilities,” Branda said, adding the talks have been “Nothing formal really.

“I still have to talk to Steve Wuelfing at E-911 and see what he thinks about it. Another problem, with animal control, is that Ogemaw residents funded a new animal control center (located on M-33 next to Ogemaw Heights High School) through donations, so we have to see what our options are. It’s definitely an option though, because as counties start losing their revenue (due to the expiration of profit sharing through an additional property tax collection mandated by the State of Michigan in 2003), you could see more talks of shared services in not just Ogemaw and Arenac, but Gladwin and Iosco could have to do something along those lines as well.”

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