Eaton County Commissioners pass budget for next fiscal year, future unclear for some deputies

CHARLOTTE, Mich. (WLNS) – Ninety days. That’s how long Eaton County Sheriff Tom Reich has, to save six positions at the Sheriff’s Department, after the Eaton County Board of Commissioners approved the budget for the next fiscal year Wednesday night.

So far, there have been a total of 19 positions eliminated at the Sheriff’s Office; 12 were sworn positions and seven were civilians.

Many of those positions were either currently sitting vacant or involved someone who was set to retire.

But the future for the six positions that have been temporarily saved remains unclear.

All six of those positions include road patrol deputies and starting October 1st, Sheriff Reich will have 90 days to find the money to keep those deputies on the roads.

The Sheriff said he plans to look for additional revenue from a new program with the Michigan Department of Corrections, which is set to start next year.

It would allow the Eaton County Jail to house inmates for a set price per year.

Sheriff Reich said he’s also going to see if townships within the county would be willing to help out by paying more for law enforcement services.

While a lot is up in the air right now, Sheriff Reich said he’s optimistic.

“We have funding in place that we believe, I’m very optimistic about it,” he said. “No matter what you hear, through other funds, other ways of getting this funding. But that’s only short term; we have to look at more of a long term and that’s for the commissioners to come out with a new idea as in how they can fund this. I hope that with these losses over the next 12 months and the ones we have vacant now, that they’ll be restored.”

The Sheriff will have until approximately the end of December to secure those funds.

Following that 90 day period, the Eaton County Ways and Means committee will meet to get a better understanding of where things stand financially, and then decide what to do from there.

6 News will continue to follow this story and let you know what comes out of it.

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