Actually, some of the township reps wanted to lock the rate in for two years. Ann Arbor commissioners credit Conan Smith, of northwest Ann Arbor, with curbing the damage: he voted for the limited rate increase in exchange for the shorter term.
“Conan played an important part in reducing it from two years to one year,” says Bergman. “This way it’s a one-year screw, not a two-year screw. So I guess we have to be grateful.”
“The sheriff’s department itself needs to be substantially revamped,” says Smith. “I thought this would give sheriff-elect Jerry Clayton time to really get in there and understand his budget without having the police service contracts hanging over his head.”
Clayton says he appreciates the extra time—and hopes to use it to ease the friction. “My team and I will get in there, and once we really understand the budget, we’ll take it on the road,” promises the burly sheriff-elect. “We’ll take it to Scio and to Superior and to Ypsilanti Township—where I live, by the way—and we’ll have town meetings where we’ll explain to the people, and, more importantly, we’ll listen to the people.