Work continues on budget for 911 central dispatch
Wednesday, April 24, 2013 11:00 AM
City and county officials continue to develop an operating budget for the proposed 911 central dispatch center.
Dispatch centers must consolidate by Jan. 1, 2014, to meet the state requirement for public safety answering points. If the county and city do not meet the mandate, they risk losing 100 percent of the state 911 funding, which is now more than $312,000 a year.
911 Director John Hendrix reported to the 911 advisory board at City Hall that the goal is to have the budget reconfigured and submitted to both the City Council and County Council by June - the typical budget time for those government boards.
The switch will bring an estimated savings of about $98,000 annually.
The center will be located on the second floor of the Jefferson County Jail. Renovations will cost about $230,000 to combine the services - which mostly covers the cost of a new radio system.
The central dispatch operating budget for 2014 would be about $800,000, $487,000 of which would be charged to the county and city. The remaining could be covered through state 911 funding.
But since the deal began, the lingering issue has been the funding formula for 911 contributions and personnel costs.
Under the current agreement, the county would pay significantly more for 911 contributions than the city, which would stand to save about $135,000 with the switch.
At the same time, county dispatchers currently receive a lower wage than those who work for the city.
The hope is to reconfigure the contributions and establish the same wages for all workers, the board said.
Mayor Damon Welch, Commissioner Mark Cash and Hendrix met Tuesday to discuss a new funding formula. They all said they felt that an agreement was close but did not offer any further details.
The board agreed earlier this year to finalize its budget for central dispatch only after the city and county come to terms on personnel costs.
"I think we're real close to an agreement on that. And once that happens, we'll be able to move forward," Cash said.
Welch said he believes a compromise will be struck before the 911 board's May meeting.
In addition to the budget changes, the board also has proposed an amendment to an inter-local agreement that would have the city and county continue to maintain towers they owned before the central dispatch change.