Officials from Shelby Township and the city of Rochester Hills on Thursday signed the first shared services agreement between the neighboring cities.
Shelby Township Supervisor Richard Stathakis and Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett met in the middle Thursday–literally—at Yates Cider Mill to sign the historic agreement.
Stathakis said the deal symbolizes how the two communities are beginning to think differently about how to provide services to its residents at lower costs.
Both the Shelby Township Board of Trustees and the Rochester Hills City Council unanimously approved the shared services deal, which in essence will allow the towns to call on the other for support on an “as needed basis.”
“If one inspector goes on vacation, it would allow them (the Building Department) to call Shelby and ask for help and vice-versa,” said Rochester Hills Building Director Scott Cope. “If the inspector is available to help out, than no money would be exchanged, as long as it was a reasonable amount of time.”
“We will use this opportunity to meet periods of higher staff demands and loss of personnel due to vacations and illnesses,” said Shelby Township Building Department Director Tim Woods.
However, if the shared agreement reaches more than 50 hours of work done by one employee, the department using the employee must pay an overtime rate of $75 an hour.
The two communities began talking about the shared agreement nearly a year ago, according to Cope, before finally signing an agreement that was approved by the local UAWs.
Stathakis said the agreement makes sense for the two towns because they are comparable in population, size, geographic location and Building Department staffing levels.
The agreement is currently limited to Building Department employees. However, Shelby Township officials have said that may change.
“I believe that our continued efforts to work with neighboring communities will creatively help Shelby Township achieve our objectives of no new taxes, no reduction in essential services and a balanced budget with minimal use of reserves,” said Stathakis.
Gov. Rick Snyder’s new budget calls for the elimination of $300 million in statuary revenue sharing that is normally split among 500 municipalities, and instead setting aside $200 million in shared revenues for cities, villages and townships who exhibit “the best practices” in shared services.
“We’re doing exactly what he (Snyder) wants us to do,” said Barnett, who said he will present Rochester’s strides in shared services to the state in order to be eligible for the shared revenue money.