Machesney Park Village Board Approves Notice of Ending Winnebago County Policing Services

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Machesney Park’s Village Board decides it no longer wants the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department’s help policing its neighborhoods. Village Board of Trustees voted tonight to consider other public safety options and it comes down to cost.

It’s a hefty price tag for police services in Machesney Park.  If needs aren’t met, it could mean the Village may have to dip into it’s reserve funds.  “We’re exercising the option to look at different possibilities,” said Village President Steve Johnson.  “The contract they gave us at the last minute is different from what we’ve done in the past.”

The Village of Machesney Park Board of Trustees voted to give the Winnebago County Board notice of termination for police services. The Village’s Ad hoc Committee will  look at alternative policing options, including out sourcing and looking at joining other forces. This is a two year notice, which gives the village and the county time to negotiate.

“The contract, the way it reads, is different,” said Johnson.  “There’s a slight increase every year.  We understand that, but when they increase it five or six fold that’s a little much.”

The total contract price tag with the county is $3.5 million. It includes an additional $308,000 for patrol services, plus another $162,000 for dispatch services, should it not be consolidated with the City of Rockford.  Which comes at a total cost $470,000 more than what they’re currently paying.  “We passed a budget assuming it would be with a certain increase,” said Johnson.  “We always anticipate and increase that would coincide with that.”

Johnson says the village is anticipating changes at the negotiation table. “We’re going to investigate all options,” said Johnson.  “I’m sure the county will come back with another type of option. We’re always open for suggestions.”

“I am confident we will work it out,” said Winnebago County Board Chairman Frank Haney in a responses to our request for comment.

Village President Steve Johnson adds public safety is still the highest priority.  Johnson doesn’t want residents to lose sight of that, as the village enters negotiations with Winnebago County.

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