Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sun Valley seeks dispatch solution

For more than five years, Blaine County local governments have been working together to develop and fund an E-911 system and a centralized dispatch center. Since 2002, a $1 phone line fee has been collected to fund E-911 equipment, management and maintenance.

To fund dispatcher salaries, a users' group appointed by the Blaine County Board of Commissioners recommended a funding formula based upon the impact of the individual jurisdictions. The cities of Hailey, Bellevue and Carey dispute the recommended funding formula. Sun Valley, along with the city of Ketchum, supports the users' group's recommendation.

The Sun Valley City Council met at a special meeting on Sept. 22 to discuss funding of consolidated dispatch, including the dispatch center override question placed on the November election ballot by the Blaine County board. Blaine County requested that Sun Valley sign a memorandum of understanding that provided funding support through September 2009. After thoughtful discussion and consideration, the City Council agreed to sign the proposed MOU with the exception of the last sentence, which supported the dispatch center override. Should the override pass, citizens of Sun Valley will fund a disproportionate share of the cost.

Idaho Statute §31-4817 provides that in the event a dispute arises among local governments over the governance of operations of consolidated dispatch services, the local governments may request mediation through the Idaho Emergency Communications Commission. Sun Valley has submitted a request for mediation regarding consolidated dispatch and development of a joint powers agreement for future management. The IECC is in the process of gathering information. Sun Valley is hopeful that the IECC will be successful in mediating a fair and equitable resolution to the issues surrounding consolidated dispatch and a long-range plan that avoids disputes in the future.

Wayne Willich

Mayor, Sun Valley

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