In just a matter of weeks the city of Richmond and the Ray County 911 Dispatch Center have come to terms after three years of separation.
The two parties met for a third time last night with a proposal presented to the city.
Included in the package are dispatch services for police and fire calls and assumes all responsibilities to maintain records. Total cost the first year would be $182,576.
No contract has been presented and final approval has to come from the Richmond City Council and the 911 Board of Directors.
Special Committee Chairman Bob Bond commented after the meeting that he was pleased with the quick progress the two entities had made.
All 911 lines and the police department’s two call lines would be transferred over to the 911 Dispatch Center. Director Scott Enss said the center would purchase any useable equipment, although he said the city’s two radio consoles would be the only items of interest.
Board member Brian Bush said the original cost formula presented to the city would not work in determining a cost. Board member Paul Harris said the formula would not work because it would only work with what the dispatch center has now. Bush said the center would spend at least $150,000 on additional dispatchers. The cost was determined by taking 91 percent of what the Sheriff’s Department pays because they have 11 officers compared to Richmond’s 10. Bush said the actual call volume will be looked at next year and if necessary adjustments would be made.
City Administrator Rick Childers expressed some concerns about determining the costs based on officers instead of actual calls. Bush said this is the easiest way to determine a cost at this point.
“Right now we don’t know exactly how many it’s going to take for us to do it either,” Bush said. “We’re kind of rolling the dice because we don’t know what it’s going to cost. We’ll have true figures next year.”
“Some went up and some went down,” Harris commented about the reassessment of some departments this year. “That’s the only fair thing you can do.”
The city will also be responsible for the cost of moving any equipment. Enss said he has spoken with AT&T and was told the transition to move the lines would take only a couple of weeks.
The city decided they would like to target Oct. 1 as a flip-the-switch date that coincides with the city’s fiscal year. Enss said that date can be achieved, but a decision will have to come quickly. Enss said it takes typically 12 weeks to train a dispatcher.
“We’re going to have to look at the backbone of this whole situation here on what it’s going to take to shift all of the services over,” Enss said. “That would be very feasible to do it before Oct. 1.”
The city’s budget for dispatch this year was more than $196,000. The city employs four fulltime and four parttime dispatchers.
The city will conduct a public hearing before a vote, but no date has been determined yet.