County looks at dispatch center’s costsAlthough 64 percent of its emergency dispatch calls are within the city of Jamestown, Stutsman County pays for most of the operations of the Stutsman County Communications Center. County officials may seek to rebalance that difference.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
Although 64 percent of its emergency dispatch calls are within the city of Jamestown, Stutsman County pays for most of the operations of the Stutsman County Communications Center. County officials may seek to rebalance that difference.
On Tuesday, the Stutsman County Commission considered a formal document describing how the communications center is funded and operated by the county, in conjunction with the city of Jamestown.
The formal agreement had been in force for a long time but had not been in writing, said Dave Schwartz, commissioner.
“In the past they couldn’t figure out how to make this thing work from a legal perspective because … there was wording in there that said the police officers would supervise the county employees, the dispatchers,” said Jerry Bergquist, Stutsman County emergency manager.
That wording was removed from the agreement.
The agreement describes how the dispatch center is currently operated, including which governing body pays for what.
Stutsman County pays for all the costs of the facility’s location, all infrastructure requirements, all equipment and all costs of training and employing the administrator, administrator staff and communications officers.
The city of Jamestown pays for the cost of training its own police officers who work in the dispatch center.
“We’re picking up a lot of the (costs) that should be split more equitably,” said Mark Klose, chairman of the commission. “We’re trying to get a more equitable formula here, a fair way of splitting these costs.”
According to Bergquist, 64 percent of calls to the dispatch center for service are from within Jamestown.
Casey Bradley, the county’s auditor/chief operating officer, estimated the city was contributing approximately $120,000 to the operation of the Communications Center, with the county chipping in more than $1 million a year.
The agreement to jointly operate the Stutsman County Communications Center will be in force until July 12, 2012, unless rescinded by the city or the county.
That way, Bergquist explained, the agreement would have to come to discussion again before the 2013 budgets were finalized.
In other news Tuesday, the commission:
* received two proposals for the preliminary engineering services for the permanent restoration work on the 2011 Emergency Road sites, one from Lightowler Johnson Associates, Fargo, and another from Interstate Engineering, Jamestown. The proposals were tabled for the commission’s next meeting.
* accepted a quote from Braun Intertec, West Fargo, to complete a geotechnical evaluation for reconstruction of the roads on the west and south sides of the Great River Energy facility. Braun will do the work for $5,190, with a possible additional cost of $1,500 for additional testing, if necessary.
* had an appraisal hearing for tax foreclosure properties that have unpaid or delinquent taxes. Any objections to the appraised prices of the properties must be made by 10 a.m. Nov. 15 at the auditor’s office.
* authorized Bradley to advertise the position of Norma Kaiser, the county’s payroll and benefits coordinator, who will retire Nov. 30.
* learned two people — Keith Veil and Arnold Siefken — have so far expressed interest in becoming part of the Jamestown Regional Airport Authority. Veil, Siefken and any additional nominations will be formally accepted at the next commission meeting, with the board taking a vote on the matter at its Dec. 1 meeting.
* approved a request from Bergquist to hire two additional part-time dispatchers for the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift at the Communications Center. That time period has seen an increase in activity of 28.9 percent since 2008, and an additional dispatcher is needed. Hiring two part-time employees instead of a full-timer helps keep overtime costs down, Bergquist said.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org