The financial struggle continued today in Eaton County as officials look for ways to find the money needed to fund retirement health care costs and more than two dozen positions at the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office depend on it.
This morning, Eaton County Sheriff Tom Reich proposed a new plan to prevent some of those eliminations.
In an effort to save the jobs of his deputies, Sheriff Reich stood in front of county commissioners and asked them to give him time, enough of it to secure the funding needed to keep those deputy positions for the long term.
“Not only do I feel sad for the deputies, but I feel bad for the public because without law enforcement out there, I can’t provide a certain level of public safety to them,” says Eaton County Sheriff Thomas Reich.
As the deadline draws near for Eaton County’s Board of Commissioners to take action on a proposed budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, Sheriff Reich asked them for 90 days starting October 1st to find funding to save the jobs of 10 of his deputies.
“With these additional cuts, knowing the diminishing affect it can have on public safety for residents of Eaton County is simply overwhelming to me as your Sheriff,” says Reich.
In his proposal, the Sheriff detailed finding additional revenue from a new program with the department of corrections that will start next year and also from the townships.
Reich says, he will visit 15 of the county’s townships to see if they are willing to pay more for law enforcement services.
“We have the ability, we are asking for the opportunity,” says Reich.
An opportunity the commissioners in today’s meeting chose to take a chance on.
The committee voted and will add the Sheriff’s 90-day plan to the next fiscal year budget.
That budget is expected to be voted on next week.
In the meantime, Eaton County Ways and Means Committee Chairperson Roger Eakin says, layoffs are suspended until further notice.
“The ball is squarely in his court, he has to perform now,” says Eakin.
If the budget passes next Wednesday, at the end of the Sheriff’s 90-days, the Ways and Means Comittee will meet to see where things stand financially and then go from there.