Jefferson County Commissioners allowed the central dispatch consolidation to move one step closer to reality Thursday by giving approval to an interlocal agreement.

The city and county must consolidate emergency call services by Jan. 1, 2014, or risk losing all 911 state funding, totaling $312,000. The county 911 advisory committee approved a budget of $804,155 for the consolidated services on Tuesday, and the City Council previously approved the interlocal agreement. 

911 director John Hendrix told the Commissioners the revised interlocal agreement asks the county to cover 55 percent of the budget with the city covering the remaining 45 percent. The town of Hanover would not be required to make contributions to the central dispatch for at least the first three years.

The county will be saving money under the agreement, Hendrix said, even though the county does pay a larger percentage of operating costs.

Under the plan, city dispatchers will become county employees and see a change in salary and special pay. They will lose holiday pay and clothing allowance but will be provided with a 3 percent contribution toward their retirement funds.

Commissioners agreed the interlocal agreement sounded like a good deal for everyone involved. 

"If we don't act, it's going to cost this county a lot more money," Commissioner Tom Pietrykowski said. "Sounds like it's going to work out for everyone."

Commissioner Mark Cash also noted the consolidated dispatch center could increase response time in the city of Madison, town of Hanover and throughout the county.

"We're not just talking about a mandate," he said. "We could save some lives here."

The Commissioners unanimously approved the interlocal agreement, 3-0.

The dispatch center will be located on the second floor of the Jefferson County Jail. The plan has yet to go before the town of Hanover for approval.

Commissioners also opened bids for two county projects during the meeting. Three bids were submitted to the Commissioners for the Audubon Park Drainage Improvement project.

Sedam Contracting of Hanover submitted a base bid of $640,096, but the total of the project would be $458,000 after deductions. King's Trucking of Seymour submitted a base bid of $663,680, which would total $545,180 after deductions. TSI Paving of New Albany submitted a base bid of $834,231.90, which would total $659,731.90 after deductions.

Commissioners previously accepted a $500,000 federal grant to fix the drainage issue in the Audubon Park housing division. The grant requires a 1 percent match from the county.

Three bids were also submitted for the Extension Office project.

The extension office, which will be located at the Jefferson County 4-H Fairgrounds on State Road 256, will house the soil and water office and Purdue University Extension offices.

Poole Group of Dillsboro submitted a bid of $290,300 with additional costs included for the seven design options. Gary Whiddon Construction of Madison submitted a bid of $312,828 with additional costs of requested bid options included. Maxwell Construction Company of Greendale submitted a bid of $346,500 with additional costs of optional designs.

Commissioners agreed to take the bids under advisement and make a decision at a later date.