MORRIS – The 911 dispatch center’s new intergovernmental agreement was primed for passage by the Grundy County 911 board Wednesday, but may be sent back to the drawing board after objections were raised.
Minooka Police Chief Justin Meyer said language in the agreement regarding the amount Grundy County has committed to pay for dispatching services is not fair for the municipalities.
“The language in here, right now, does not assure long-term stability for the village,” Meyer said during the board meeting Wednesday. “And that’s what we want.”
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. The new dispatch center provides services for 14 police departments and fire districts in the county.
Grundy County built and paid for the facility, but shared the cost of dispatch operations with the city of Morris. The cost of operations includes salaries, benefits and employee training for the 16 full-time and two part-time dispatchers employed at the center.
For the past 18 months, the 911 finance committee – a subcommittee of the Grundy County Emergency Telephone System Board (911 board) – has collected data and developed a comprehensive cost-sharing formula to determine the cost burden for the 14 agencies in the county using dispatching services.
After much debate and negotiation with the 911 board, the county passed a resolution at the January county board meeting agreeing to pay $1.06 million every year for the life of the next intergovernmental agreement.
With the proposed agreement, the remaining agencies would not pay a fixed amount, but a percentage of the entire budget. This way, if the 911 center were to spend more than, or less than, budgeted, each agency’s contribution would adjust accordingly.
Meyer said the county should also have to change its contribution amount if the center were to go over budget.
“If there is a shortfall, Grundy County will not have to contribute and all the other municipalities will,” Meyer said. “If this is supposed to be a fair and equal contract, then the county’s share should go up, too.”
Morris Police Chief Brent Dite, and several others on the 911 board, said Grundy County was unlikely to change its contribution to a percentage because it has rejected the idea in previous negotiations.
“It’s been told to [the county] for a number of months that their number would be stagnet,” Dite said. “I think for us to go backwards on that would be dishonest.”
The motion to table the agreement until next month’s meeting was reluctantly passed by the board.
With the current three-year agreement, the five municipalities paying in are Grundy, Morris, Coal City, Minooka and Mazon – with Grundy and Morris paying the majority. Grundy paid $1.15 million and would be saving about $90,000 a year if locked into $1.06 million. Morris paid $500,000 with that agreement. Minooka pays $100,000, Coal City $50,000 and Mazon $1,000.
With the proposed agreement, Morris would pay 44.7 percent or about $272,000, Minooka would pay 32.8 percent or about $200,000 and Coal City would pay 14.4 percent or about $88,000. With the new agreement, the other 10 agencies also are contributing. All contributions are based a formula created by the 911 finance committee.
Meyer said he and other Minooka officials intend to go before the Grundy County Finance Committee to address the issue.