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County plans to pay $90K less on dispatch services

The county's dispatch center is housed in this building.
The county's dispatch center is housed in this building.

MORRIS – Beginning next year, Grundy County could pay up to $90,00 less per year for the county’s emergency dispatching services.

The county currently pays $1.15 million a year for those services.

“The Finance Committee came to a conclusion on Monday that we would commit to $1.06 million,” John Galloway, chairman of the Grundy County Board’s Finance Committee said Wednesday.

The county board is scheduled to consider that figure at next month’s county board meeting Jan. 14. It will go before the board with a positive recommendation from the Finance Committee.

“We worked in close conjunction with the ETSB board and others in determining the amount,” Galloway said.

Roughly three years ago, Morris dispatch and Grundy County dispatch consolidated their services and a new 911 dispatch center was built south of Morris on Route 47. Grundy County built and paid for the facility but shared the cost of dispatch operations with the city of Morris.

At that time, Morris and Grundy County entered into a three-year intergovernmental agreement, taking on the bulk of the cost since both parties had previously paid for dispatch operations. Many of the other agencies now using the consolidated service previously received dispatch service through the county for free and needed time to adjust their budgets for the new cost.

With the three-year agreement, Grundy paid $1.15 million and Morris almost $500,000. Minooka and Coal City also contributed.

“Grundy County was going to continue to pay what they paid before, Morris was going to continue what they paid before and whatever the remaining costs were would be picked up by the other agencies,” said Brent Dite, Morris Police Chief and chairman of the Grundy County Emergency Telephone System Board (ETSB), also known as the 911 board.

The new dispatch center provides services for 14 police departments and fire districts. The cost of operations only includes salaries, benefits and employee training for the 16 full-time and two part-time dispatchers employed at the center.

The cost of technology and radio infrastructure is funded by the ETSB.

Dite said the current three-year agreement is set to expire in 2014.

Throughout the past year, the 911 finance committee – a subcommittee of the ETSB – has developed a more comprehensive cost-sharing formula that will better determine the cost burden for those 14 agencies.

“We’ve been collecting data regarding call volume to come up with a plan that will work for Grundy,” Dite said.

According to that data, about 90 percent of calls processed by the center are law enforcement related and 10 percent are fire related, indicating that police departments will bear a higher cost burden than fire districts.

“The county will still pay the lion’s share of these costs,” Dite said.

Members of the 911 finance committee presented their formula to the county Finance Committee on Monday. After the presentation, the Finance Committee agreed to pay $1.06 million for dispatching services.

If that figure is approved at the next county board meeting, Dite said the cost for remaining agencies can be determined.

The county board briefly discussed the Finance Committee’s decision at Tuesday’s board meeting.

Grundy County Chairman Ron Severson reminded the board the county is still paying for the building expenses including maintenance, heating, electricity and bonds

“There are several added costs besides just that figure,” Severson told the board. “We need to keep that in mind.”

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