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“Under protest,” the Town Council approved an amendment to its contract with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office that adds a 3 percent increase to its payment for the 2019/2020 fiscal year.

Mayor Ginny Dickey noted that this is a vote to change the agreement and the amount was already accounted for in the budget approved earlier in the session held on June 4.

Councilman Alan Magazine used the phrasing “under protest” in making a motion to approve the amendment to the contract.

Town Manager Grady Miller told the council that earlier this year, MCSO notified the town that it had not been properly collecting for administrative services provided to the town.

“After fully evaluating the administrative overhead costs relating to law enforcement services, the Sheriff’s Office identified the need to charge contract cities and town for a variety of administrative support services provided to the contract cities and towns,” Miller said in his written report to the council.

MCSO determined that the current agreement was not recovering costs for human resources, budget and finance, risk management, information services and other supportive administrative functions of the office.

The cost of this increase totals $136,185 for the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1.

“In order to implement the new fee, which is not part of the existing agreement, it is necessary for the Town Council to adopt a resolution that approves an amendment to the current intergovernmental agreement,” Miller said.

Miller explained that since MCSO is the only option for the town to obtain law enforcement services at this time, there is little choice but to accept the amendment.

Councilman David Spelich said the change is “adding insult to injury” and “leaving a bad taste in my mouth.”

Dickey said the town has a contract and is not powerless in this situation.

“We have started to negotiate,” she said. “We are not a victim; this is being presented in a manner that we haven’t seen before.”

The vote to approve the resolution was 4-1 with Spelich’s dissent. Councilwoman Sherry Leckrone is employed by Maricopa County in the County Attorney’s Office and chose to recuse herself from the vote. She said she had requested but had not received an opinion on a potential conflict prior to the meeting, so she chose to recuse.

Vice Mayor Art Tolis was not present for the vote.