Canal Winchester City Council agreed April 7 to follow a recommendation from the finance director and renegotiate a contract with the Fairfield County Sheriff's Office to provide police service.
Law Director Jennifer Croghan said the last time the city did a request for proposal process for safety services was in 2006. The last time a contract renewal was negotiated with the Fairfield County Sheriff's Office was in 2010.
That contract is for just over $800,000 a year, and will expire at the end of this calendar year.
Finance Director Amanda Jackson recommended that the contract for safety services be renegotiated and renewed, as opposed to being rebid, due to the current market conditions for these services.
The only other two options the city has for contracting these services are the Franklin County Sheriff's Office or the Madison Township Police Department.
"To me, the issue is how much an hour Fairfield County pays its deputies versus Franklin County and Madison Township," Councilwoman Bobbie Mershon said. "Those two are always higher, so the result will remain the same."
Jackson said she anticipates having a new police agreement in place before fall; it will then need to be approved by council.
In other business April 7, council heard the first readings of ordinances that would renew contracts with the law firm of Frost Brown Todd LLC for legal representation and the Canal Banking Center, Vinton County National Bank, for deposit of public funds
Canal Winchester's legal representation by Frost Brown Todd includes the services of Croghan and Gene Hollins to act as law directors for the city.
Councilman Steve Donahue asked whether it would be more prudent to renew the current contract at the same rate for the continuation of the same services, or if the city is at a point where it should consider hiring a full-time law director.
"We had a brief discussion about that," Jackson said. "We have to determine when it is more cost-beneficial and one of the biggest issues we'd have is space, because we physically don't have room for them and what we've been getting with Gene and Jennifer is very good."
Mayor Michael Ebert also weighed in, saying he doesn't think Canal Winchester has enough work yet for a full-time law director.
Currently, the city pays $12,500 per month for general legal services, with a discounted hourly rate of $175 for additional and more complex legal services.
The agreement with the Canal Banking Center, Vinton County National Bank, is a standard one made between the city and all of the banks it does business with for holding public funds, according to Jackson.
"This agreement allows the mayor and myself to work with the Canal Banking Center to hold our public money, and this is basically just renewing the same agreement for five more years," she said. "We have done the same with all of the financial institutions we hold money in. It's something we're required by law to do."
The renewals of both contracts are scheduled for a final vote at the May 5 council meeting.