(02/07/13) - Saginaw community leaders gathered for the annual state of the city
and county addresses on Thursday.
While it wasn't the only topic on the agenda, the public safety issue got the most attention, as the city and county continue to discuss the best way to police Saginaw.
Saginaw is looking at two main options on the public safety issue, and as Mayor Greg Branch said, the eventual decision is not going to be popular with everyone.
"We've managed, over the last seven years, to keep police and fire staffing fairly stable compared to other cities in the state," he said.
Branch says the time has come for the city to change the way it funds public safety, as police and fire positions continue to go down. He says the city is not only hurting funding public safety, but other services as well.
"One of the most important steps we must take to make Saginaw a great city again, to make all our cities great again, is statewide reform in the way we fund municipal government," Branch said.
The options in public safety include reducing the size of police and fire in the city even further or contracting with the Saginaw County Sheriff's Department.
"There is a need to do something different than what is currently done because of the finances," said Saginaw County controller Robert Belleman.
Belleman is in his first week as Saginaw County Controller, after leaving his position as city manager in Bay City - a city that is now cross-training police officers and firefighters.
"I haven't looked at it close enough to have a position on it, and ultimately it's up to Sheriff Federspiel to what works for him," he said.
As for Bill Federspiel, the latest twist in this saga was unveiled Wednesday night, when city manager Darnell Earley announced a contract proposal is in the works.
"Mr. Earley said he is going to be presenting me with a contract," Federspiel said.
Federspiel said he does not yet have the contract.
ABC12 Main Station