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City wants to set meeting with County 911

Under the advisement of an assessment of the city’s 911-dispatch center, the city will meet with the Ray County 911 Central Dispatch board to see if combining operations is cost effective.
Police Chief Terri McWilliams gave a presentation of the assessment to the council and outlined what changes have been made since the assessment last summer.
She said nearly every suggestion has been addressed or was already in place and was overlooked while compiling information.
McWilliams reiterated to the full council that she felt the assessment did not cover enough ground.
“I was really hoping for a report that would really pick it apart and tell us that we need to be doing this or that better,” she said. “This report didn’t do that.”
Councilman Jason Berning asked McWilliams if it is legally possible for the city to take over the whole operation from the county. McWilliams did not commit to an answer, but did say many things would have to be negotiated if the centers are combined.
She said safety, training, and location are just some of the things, besides finances, that would have to be put on the table.
She also said it should not take an assessment to bring the two parties together for discussions. She said issues should be visited every 12 to 18 months.
“I don’t think we need to wait until the R.D. Porters of the world come here,” she said. “If it’s going to save us money then we need to talk about that, and I think we need to leave that line of communication open on a regular basis.”
She did say that county voters decided when the 911 tax was approved that they did not want a central dispatch.
McWilliams said the police station has to have someone there 24 hours. She said those people might as well be dispatching if they are there.
Former City Councilman A.J. Phipps spoke before the presentation and urged the city to combine with the county. He said the subject came up while he was on the council, but at that time the city did not want to duplicate services.
“We voted for the county to establish this 911 system,” Phipps said. “We never voted for the city to. I think there should be an effort to reconcile this difference and keep this operated by the county so the expenses can be remarkably reduced.”

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