Friday, March 16, 2012

Dispatch advisors to meet next week

Committee to discuss funding


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

The Partners Advisory Committee, a multi-jurisdiction committee that advises the county on management of Blaine County Consolidated Dispatch, will meet Wednesday, March 21, to discuss a set of recent recommendations from the state E-911 commission.

The E-911 commission released a series of recommendations in January regarding oversight and management of county dispatch in response to arguments from two local cities that the funding methods were unfair.

Sun Valley has argued that the funding method—which charges a total of almost $500,000 to the cities using a formula based on the number of addresses and hotel rooms in each—hits Sun Valley disproportionately. According to the city, it contains 24 percent of the housing units in the county but only 6 percent of the population, and produces 7 to 10 percent of calls to the dispatch center.

Hailey has argued that the county should bear the full cost for consolidated dispatch.

The commission's recommendation did not provide insight into specifically how the municipalities should split the cost of dispatch funding, apart from to say that the method should be "fair and transparent."

The commission also stated that all participating parties should contribute to dispatch.

Blaine County Commissioner Angenie McCleary said during a commissioners meeting Tuesday that she hoped the committee would be able to agree on a data-driven funding method that it could recommend to the county, which has final say.

"We look toward those meetings to have them bring ideas and reach consensus," said County Administrator Derek Voss. "That's where the rub has been for the county—we haven't been able to reach consensus."

The committee will meet Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. at the Blaine County Public Safety Facility in Hailey. The meeting is open to the public but public comment will not be taken.

Katherine Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com




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