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Shiawassee Co. has no sheriff's road patrols. That's just the beginning of its problems

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Shiawassee County officials missed a deadline to get a millage on the May ballot.

So, the county will continue making do without sheriff's road patrols for now.

Hartman Aue is the new chairman of the County Commission.

He says previous commissions "kicked the can down the road," and ignored budget deficits until they got out of control. 

Then, they cut $1.5 million out of the Sheriff's Department budget. 
"Every community should offer public safety, quality education, and strong infrastructure and right now we're not doing that," Aue says. 

For now, Michigan State Police are patrolling roads in the county, but Aue says the county should have a minimum of eight deputies for road patrols.

The county may hold a special election in August to ask voters to pay for more deputies.

Aue says the sheriff funding issue is just the tip of the iceberg. Shiawassee County has $26 million in unfunded pensions and health care liabilities for retirees.

Aue has proposed that commissioners start at the top -- by cutting their own pensions and benefits.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.