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ETSB: Formula for future costs still in works

911 Executive Committee corrects statements made by county leaders

The 911 Executive Committee took some time Wednesday to address statements made by Grundy County officials regarding the progress on a formula for future dispatching service costs.

The current contract the Grundy County Emergency Telephone System Board (911 board) has with its 15 parties expires in 2014. The 911 board's Finance Committee is working on a new formula for the next contract that will include call volume, population, EAV, and other considerations.

Possible formulas are still be worked on, which is why the 911 Executive Committee has not yet been given one on which to vote, said Morris Police Chief Brent Dite, a member of the Finance Committee. The members are working very hard to come up with a fair formula for all involved, he said.

In the current contract, Grundy County and Morris took on the bulk of the cost to allow for the other agencies to adjust to the new budget item. Morris and the county have always paid for dispatch costs and were prepared for it, whereas the other parties have not paid for this service previously.

The largest stakeholders are Morris, which pays about $500,000; Grundy, at about $1.2 million; Minooka, about $100,000; and Coal City, about $50,000.

At the Grundy County Rules Committee, which is unaffiliated with the 911 board, County Board Chairman Ron Severson and Vice Chairman David Welter made comments that were reported in the Morris Daily Herald and upset several members of the 911 Executive Committee, which met Wednesday. 

Severson said last week the county's $1.2 million portion needed to decrease because the county is also paying $750,000 in bond payments for the building.

County board member Richard Joyce, who represents the county on the 911 Executive Committee, said Wednesday the county is actually paying $713,751 for its bond payment and that bond was for five projects, not just the new dispatch center. It actually covers the highway building; animal control center; dispatch center; remodeling of the courthouse; and the purchase of the old Save-A-Lot building, its demolition, and the start of a parking lot in its place.

"There's a lot of mythology about this building," Joyce said.

Morris Fire Chief Tracey Steffes also brought up concerns with Welter's statements at the Rules Committee meeting. Welter said in the preliminary formulas he's seen, the fire districts would be paying the most for dispatch services in the new contract.

Steffes said he received numerous calls of concern from his board trustees when Welter's comments were printed.

Contrary to statements made at the county's Rules Committee, the 911 Finance Committee is still working on a formula for future costs and is trying to make it as fair to all the Grundy County parties involved, said Dite,

Severson and Welter were invited to attend some of those meetings, said Dite, but were told the formula was still being worked on "in-house" until the committee had a more concrete one to present to the 911 Executive Commitee.

They are still tweaking multiple formula possibilities, he said, and the goal is fairness, not putting the bulk of the cost on one taxing body or another.

In other business, Interim Sheriff Kevin Callahan was appointed Vice Chairman of the 911 Executive Commitee. Wednesday's meeting was Chairman Monty Serena of the South Wilmington Fire Department's first meeting as chair.

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