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Farmington, Hills on the Road to Sharing Dispatch Services

Cities must demonstrate efforts to share services in order to qualify for state aid.

New requirements for receiving state funds have the cities of and adding up the services they share and looking at ways to share even more in the coming year.

In meetings this month, officials said they are taking a serious look at merging public safety dispatch and inmate housing, with Farmington Hills taking over those services. 

Currently, both cities operate their own dispatch centers and holding cells. At a joint council meeting held Dec. 5, Pastue said  Chief Chuck Nebus,  Director Robert Schulz and public safety staff worked through operational details.

"Most of them have been resolved," Pastue said, adding changes in state law have made it easier for the merger to move forward. The cities have applied for a $250,000 grant to cover costs that would include transfers of information, equipment costs and separation costs, assuming some staff reductions. 

"There are still negotiations that have to take place," Pastue said. "You want to have a safe place for everyone to land." 

A total of $150,000 in cost savings – $75,000 for each city – is expected from the move, which will probably not take place any earlier than July of 2012, he said. 

In addition to dispatch, the cities are also exploring shared information technology services. They have already take steps toward forming a  for Grand River, a main thoroughfare that runs through both cities. The CIA will oversee redevelopment initiatives along a stretch that runs from downtown Farmington to the Farmington Hills border at Eight Mile Rd.  

The new efforts will be added to a long list of shared services. Pastue said Monday that when he and Farmington Hills assistant city manager Dana Whinnery sat down to look at all their cities do together, "We were pretty amazed by the number of items."

Among them are senior adult services, an after-school program, cultural arts and recreation programs, mutual aid agreements, the and the . 

Both cities were required to create a plan for expanding cooperation, collaboration and consolidation to ensure they qualify for one-third of the state's Economic Vitality Incentive Program (EVIP) funding, which replaces a portion of state shared revenues. Both have already posted "dashboards" on their websites to provide residents with information; a third step, required by May 1, 2012, relates to caps on employee benefits. 

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