Wednesday, September 21, 2011

City to seek mediation over dispatch dispute

Sun Valley and county still at odds over funding

Express Staff Writer

Sun Valley is paying its dispatch bill to Blaine County, but under protest and with a concurrent action seeking mediation to resolve a long-standing conflict over how much it pays for the service.

The City Council at its meeting on Thursday, Sept. 15, approved a fiscal 2012 contract with Blaine County for consolidated emergency communication services in the amount of $117,617.

"Are we just going to sit here and roll over, or are we going to do something about this?" asked Councilman Nils Ribi. "We've been through this routine time and time and time again."

He proposed sending a letter to the Idaho E911 Emergency Communications Commission requesting mediation with the county over the process.

"(Let's) say to the county, we want to begin that discussion with you through the communications commission to see if we can find a better system for payment," Ribi said.

Sun Valley officials have objected to the structure used to determine the amount each jurisdiction pays for the service, because it's based on the number of addresses in each jurisdiction rather than by a projected number of calls.

Mayor Wayne Willich said the city has talked about mediation for three years.

"We continue to reach an impasse," he said. "It's kind of like we're paying this bill under protest. What we really are looking for is mediation ... with Blaine County."

Other municipalities are part of the system, but Sun Valley's contract is with the county.

The mayor directed City Attorney Adam King to draft the letter seeking mediation, which will be signed by the mayor and council.

"The other side of this is, and I think it's really important, is we're showing good faith," Ribi said. "We're signing the contract, we're signing the check, we've put the money in the budget."

Rebecca Meany:

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