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Posted: 01/29/14

SHARED SERVICES. Above, Melissa Roy, assistant county executive, said Bruce Township was honored by the county for sharing fire and recycling services with its neighbors. County Executive Mark Hackel presented the award to Supervisor Richard Cory at the county communications technology center.

(Observer photo by Chris Gray)

Communities awarded
for combining services

Observer Staff Writer
      Eight of the 27 Macomb County municipalities were honored for their efforts to collaborate and improve services.
       County officials recognized eight communities on Jan. 27 at the new county communications center for combining services to save on costs and better serve residents.
       Melissa Roy, assistant county executive, said this is the third year the county has awarded municipalities for combining forces in the midst of declining property values.
       "I think all of what we've done here in Macomb County is very innovative and we're very proud and happy to give out these awards," she said.
       Among the communities was Bruce Township, which was recognized for sharing fire services with Armada Township. Supervisor Richard Cory said Bruce Township and the Village of Romeo combined fire services in 1999, so it has been sharing resources for a while.
       "We're really happy that we're able to do a few things to make a difference," Cory said.
       The township, along with Armada and Washington townships, signed automatic aid agreements in December that allows their fire departments to simultaneously send teams to confirmed structure fires in their jurisdictions.
       Bruce Township was also recognized for its efforts to combine recycling services with Almont and Dryden townships. The recycling center is located in the Bruce Township Hall parking lot.
       Cory said the communities of Romeo, Washington and Bruce also share services like Parks and Recreation and a library district.
       "We have a unique situation because of the Village of Romeo, half of the village is in Washington, half is in Bruce," he said. "It's great to be recognized that we do have that type of cooperation."
       County Executive Mark Hackel noted the venue for the award ceremony was an example of shared services. The $13.5 million Communications and Technical Center (COMTEC) combines several county departments and emergency dispatch under one roof with the latest technology.
       "It doesn't happen . . . unless you have people that truly are visionary and see the future and are willing to take on that leadership role," Hackel said.
       Clinton Township and Sterling Heights were recognized for the consolidating police, fire and rescue services with COMTEC. The communities are also exploring a centralized fire department with Harrison Township and Mount Clemens.
       Hackel said the fire departments for the four communities need to work out details like personnel and deployment with a study.
       "We're using our emergency management team to help pull that study together," he said.
       He said the county is sending out a request for proposal for the study, and would help put together a grant application for state funds.
       Hackel said an idea he is pushing for regarding collaboration is centralized assessment, which would reduce the need for local jails and have one location where anyone arrested is dropped off and assessed, whether it's criminal, substance abuse or mental health.
       He said this wouldn't simply be moving forward with a jail, but looking at re-purposing county buildings.
       "Central intake and assessment of prisoners helps reduce the need for bed space, and you're appropriately handling people that are committing crimes," he said. "You're doing it in the way that punishment is supposed to happen, and that is swift and certain."
       Other communities recognized were Armada, Shelby Township and Utica.

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