Complicating everything, the two sides can’t agree on what a deputy’s time is worth. “The direct cost is one hundred thousand including fringes,” says Manchester Village president Pat Vailliencourt, while commissioner Ken Schwartz, who represents northeastern Washtenaw, maintains “the actual cost is $136,845—in other words, less than the $137,000 we’re paying [in 2008].”
“He’s wrong,” retorts Ann Arbor’s Gunn. “It’s more like one hundred and ninety thousand. In 1998 I asked for a very detailed cost breakdown for the deputies plus all the costs of everything else except corrections prorated across the department. And what I found out is the numbers are what they are, the cost is what it is, and you can’t deny it.”
Into this already heated discussion, county administrator Bob Guenzel dropped a bombshell: he now calculates the full annual cost at $243,825. He explains that while the township reps are citing salary expenses, “the higher number is what it costs us to put a deputy on the road fully loaded, plus a portion of the costs of running a police department, excluding correction.”
Guenzel hopes a committee can resolve the cost dispute this year. But the townships’ preemptive strike means that the bargain 2 percent rate is already locked into next year’s budget.