Blackman-Leoni Townships discuss public safety contract

(WLNS) – Public safety in the Jackson area may look different come fall.

Tuesday night Leoni Twp. voted to put a public safety millage on the ballot in November. The plan would add 1.5 mills in order to continue providing joint police and fire services with Blackman Twp.

The contract between Leoni and Blackman Townships will come to an end this year.

Blackman Township proposed, in order to continue on with the agreement, Leoni will need to pay their ‘fair share’.

Approximately 32 percent of all 911 calls to the Blackman-Leoni Public Safety Department deal with situations in Leoni Township.

In order to keep the contract going Blackman Twp. proposed Leoni Twp. pay 32 percent of all costs.

That wouldn’t be a problem if Leoni Twp. could pay for it

“When they come to us and say it’s going to be an extra $417,000, there’s no way we could afford that after two years,” said Todd Brittain, supervisor, Leoni Township.

So now the decision will go to a vote in the November election, pay the extra 1.5 mills, which would equal an extra $150 dollars a year on a $100,000 home or find another option for public safety.

“As a community you need to decide what level of police and fire protection they have, how it’s going to be structured will it be public safety or individual departments or whether they want their station on fifth street manned or whether they don’t,” said Mike Jester, director, Blackman-Leoni Public Safety.

Leoni Township supervisor Todd Brittain says their current situation with Blackman Township provides the “best possible service.”

But the bottom line is ending that contract could lead to gaps in police and fire protection for people in Leoni Township.

Ultimately Blackman-Leoni Public Safety director Mike Jester says the level of service Leoni Township wants will be what it gets.

“At the end of the day it really is up to the residents of Leoni Township what they say what’s the best way to go and what’s best for them as a community,” said Mike Jester, director, Blackman-Leoni Public Safety.

Director Jester said the majority of people at Tuesday night’s meeting were in favor of paying an additional 1.5 mills to stay with Blackman Township.

Their final answer will come in November.

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