Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sun Valley pitches its dispatch plan

Mayor: We can help Hailey and Bellevue pay for emergency call service


By JASON KAUFFMAN
Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley Mayor Wayne Willich has an idea for how to fix the ongoing dispute over how to pay for the salaries and benefits of emergency dispatchers at the county's consolidated dispatch center.

He believes Blaine County and local cities should stick with the original funding plan that envisioned charging each jurisdiction for the number of emergency calls they generate each year. He also thinks the cities of Sun Valley and Ketchum should help Hailey and Bellevue pay their share of the bill until the 2011-2112 fiscal year.

After that, the two south valley cities would need to pay for their shares in full, according to the plan that Willich presented before a non-committal Blaine County Commission Tuesday. He said the gradual break-in period should allow everyone to eventually "arrive at a pay for call" plan.

Willich did note at least one matter that must be resolved to ensure the plan works.

"I have no idea if the Ketchum people would agree to what I lay out here," he said.

Under Willich's plan, Hailey and Bellevue would pay $100,000 and $41,000 for the 2009-2010 fiscal year, respectively. During the 2010-2011 fiscal year, they would pay $150,000 and $62,000, respectively.

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During the following fiscal year—2011-2012—they would begin to pay what Willich stated is each city's annual funding share: $210,000 for Hailey and $82,000 for Bellevue. Based on the number of dispatch calls they generate, Willich's plan would have the cities of Sun Valley and Ketchum pay $66,000 and $136,000 during that same fiscal year, respectively.

Willich's proposal follows the County Commission's approval last week of a separate funding plan to pay for the salaries and benefits of emergency dispatchers. That formula breaks down the shares each fire district and municipality will pay for emergency dispatch services by the number of addresses in each of their jurisdictions.

That plan would have Hailey pay $138,898 and Bellevue pay $28,569 each year. Sun Valley and Ketchum would pay $112,098 and $164,173.

The county has asked each of the dispatch users to report back if the plan is satisfactory by the end of February to give everyone time to factor the costs into their 2010 budgeting process.

Jason Kauffman: jkauffman@mtexpress.com




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