Oxford Twp. renews fire dispatch service contract with Oakland County

24% increase expected in the first year
By Jim Newell
Managing Editor

OXFORD TWP. – Oxford Township is renewing its fire department dispatch services contract with Oakland County but township officials are not happy with the cost increases in the contract.
The Oxford Township Board of Trustees voted 6-0 during its March 13 meeting to renew the Fire Dispatch Service Agreement with Oakland County for the next three years. Trustee Rod Charles was absent from the meeting.
The current dispatch agreement expires on March 31. The renewal begins April 1, 2024 and runs through 11:59 p.m. March 31, 2027. The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office provides dispatch services – notifying the fire department when a call comes in for assistance – to the Oxford Fire Department. The Oakland County Board of Commissioners votes on setting the dispatch service fees.
Oxford Fire Chief Matthew Majestic brought the agreement to the township board for approval.
“Obviously, I’m bringing this before you for approval, though myself, Supervisor (Jack) Curtis, a host of other township supervisors, a few treasurers and quite a few police and fire chiefs have spoken out against the cost they’ve added to this contract. It is definitely not something that we’re able to document or find out why,” Majestic said.
Oxford Township paid a total of $216,298 during the last three-year contract for dispatch services. The township is now looking at a cost of $275,459 over three years. Depending on the number of calls for service the fire department receives, that cost could be as high as $282,000 over the three-year contract, Majestic said.
The township will pay a projected $85,911.93 in 2024, $93,373.53 in 2025 and $96,173.73 in 2026, according to township documents.
Majestic said he understood in a letter from the sheriff’s office where it said “increased personnel costs for salary increases associated with fringe benefits.”
“However, they included the words ‘indirect costs as required by the board of commissioners.’ But nobody can tell us what those costs are and they refer us to a Maximus report that’s about 300-350 pages or something like that,” Majestic said.
“I’ve been to a couple board of commissioner meetings to speak out about this. They acknowledge us and they just continue to vote it along. So, at this time, it is our only option to renew this contract with the Oakland County Sheriff, but that’s not to say that myself, a host of other fire chiefs and police chiefs and villages, and so on, throughout the county are not beginning the process of looking at other options,” Majestic said. “Because it’s hard to justify this when they can’t tell us why. Historically, we’ve seen increases of anywhere from 2.5-4.5% annually over a three-year contract. This year we’re looking at a 24.5%, almost 24.6%, increase just for the first year, 8% for the second year and 3% for the third year. But, you know, they kind of have us over a barrel right now. And this came without notice. It has shocked many communities.”
Supervisor Jack Curtis said he and six other township supervisors wrote letters asking what the indirect costs were and were told it was in the Maximus report. Curtis said that the county told him that the indirect fees were previously absorbed by the county and are now going to be charged to the municipalities.
“Everybody’s getting hit with this. Plan B is to go with our own dispatch center. So, there are radical plans out there to address the situation that the county government is now hitting us with,” Curtis said. “The indirect labor costs are directed by the board of commissioners. What are those indirect labor costs? They don’t tell you.”
Trustee Catherine Colvin asked if the township had any alternatives. “The only alternative would be to create our own dispatch?”
Majestic said that would be the only alternative at this point, but it would require several communities getting together to actually create a dispatch center.
“The nice thing is that we have already switched over to the statewide radio system. That went live this year,” Majestic said. “And so, the towers are the towers. That’s in place. That part of the infrastructure is in place. It would be an issue of establishing an actual dispatch center. But, that’s again, something that multiple municipalities would have to come together on and figure out. It’s definitely not something we can do in-house.”
“Sadly, the only option we have is to approve it because we need to maintain our dispatch center,” Majestic said.

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