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Macomb Township

January 30, 2013

Shelby, Macomb boards to vote on courthouse agreement

By Robert Guttersohn
C & G Staff Writer

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — The financial differences that have kept the residents of Shelby Township, Utica and Macomb Township from having a new 41-A District Court have apparently been bridged.

Both Macomb and Shelby officials are expected to vote within a month on the latest version of an interlocal courthouse agreement between the two communities.

The agreement irons out issues for funding the legacy costs, the carryover of vacation days and the benefits of the current employees of the courthouse, which currently resides in Shelby.

“It pretty much says, what they owe, they’ll pay, and what we owe, we’ll pay,” said Macomb Township Clerk Michael Koehs. “It doesn’t obligate us to take the court.”

Koehs plans to distribute the agreement to the Macomb Board of Trustees during its Jan. 28 meeting, after the Chronicle goes to print.

“I’m confident that the Board of Trustees will have the necessary information to make its final decision for the 41-A court,” Shelby Township Supervisor Richard Stathakis said.

The agreement is largely based on an earlier draft that was passed back and forth between townships.

It proposes that Shelby assumes the health care and severance costs of the employees based on the percentage of their career worked in Shelby.

For example, if an employee worked 10 years in Shelby, 20 years in Macomb and then retired after 30 years, Shelby would pay a third of the employee’s health care premium.

Any benefit increases made by negotiation while the court is in Macomb would be paid for solely by Macomb.

Employees must be full-time in Shelby in order to be part of the breakdown.

The agreement also carries a “no obligation to hire” clause, meaning the agreement does not obligate Macomb to hire any current court employees.

The matter of building a new 41-A District Court has been tossed back and forth among officials from the court, Shelby Township and Macomb Township for the past 10 years. The people who work in or near the court say a new, larger courthouse is needed for safety.

The agreement does not make definitive the construction of a new courthouse in Macomb. Koehs said the court’s judge will have to request the move from Shelby to Macomb.

“When Macomb Township decides that there aren’t any further undiscovered liabilities, then it will have to come to the board for a decision to respond to a request from the chief judge to relocate in Macomb,” he said.

Koehs said Macomb still wants the court as part of its plan to develop the town center between 24 Mile and 25 Mile roads.

“The benefit will simply be having it here,” Koehs said. “Whether the court, itself, makes money isn’t so much a concern, as long it doesn’t cost us money.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Robert Guttersohn at rguttersohn@candgnews.com or at (586)218-5006.