DuPage County keeping patrol deal with townships

 
 
Updated 3/18/2015 7:31 PM
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A long-standing arrangement for the DuPage County sheriff's office to provide extra patrols in four townships will continue unchanged, despite one township's request to have the county pay more of the cost.

Members of the DuPage County Board's judicial and public safety committee on Tuesday tentatively approved separate contracts with Bloomingdale, Milton, York and Wayne townships to keep special policing districts that have been in place since the 1980s. The full board is scheduled to take final action next week on the one-year pacts.

If approved, the four townships will continue to have extra sheriff's deputies patrol their unincorporated neighborhoods through March 31, 2016.

As part of the deal, the townships are required to pay 80 percent of the six extra deputies' salaries and benefits. Combined, the four townships would contribute roughly $627,000 of the program's annual cost.

Each township has a separate tax levy to pay for the deputies. Still, Milton officials recently asked the county to start paying more of the program's cost.

"They wanted the county to step up to the plate and pay 30 percent -- not 20 percent," said board member Amy Grant, whose district includes Milton Township in central DuPage.

Milton Township Supervisor Chris Heidorn said township officials sought the change because there have been significant increases in the cost of the program in recent years.

"We were trying to figure out ways to handle these costs," Heidorn said.

Despite concerns about the program's cost for the townships, Grant and county board member Grant Eckhoff told Milton officials the terms of the deal can't be changed.

"If we gave them a split of 70/30, we would have to give everybody a break because everybody says their budgets are tight," said Eckhoff, who is chairman of the judicial and public safety committee. "I haven't heard a governmental agency yet that says it's flush with money."

Milton is scheduled to pay $322,620 to have three extra sheriff's deputies assigned to its unincorporated neighborhoods.

Bloomingdale, York and Wayne townships each will keep one additional deputy. Bloomingdale and York each are scheduled to pay $107,540 as part of the latest agreement. Wayne would pay $89,616.

While officials say the four townships benefit from having deputies assigned to specific areas, Eckhoff said the policing districts are an extra service "above and beyond" what the sheriff's office usually provides.

"So if they want it," he said, "they have to pay for it."

Heidorn said Milton might need to dramatically increase its levy to afford three deputies in the future. Another option could be to reduce the number of deputies to two.

He said officials are considering the possibility of doing random survey of residents in areas that have the extra patrols to see how they would like the township to proceed.

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