Friday, June 7, 2013

Cities, county agree to dispatch plan

New funding model keeps cities from defecting to SIRCOMM

Express Staff Writer

     After years of wrangling over funding mechanisms, and a threat of desertion to other service providers, cities in the Wood River Valley have agreed to move forward with a one-year agreement for consolidated emergency dispatch services operated by Blaine County.

     “The county will be paying a greater share of the cost, but I feel that the public will be best served by this agreement,” said County Commissioner Larry Schoen on Tuesday, after the commission agreed to sign the contract.

     The cities of Hailey and Sun Valley had approved the contract previously. The Bellevue City Council approved the contract Wednesday night.

     Sun Valley, Bellevue and Hailey protested the county’s dispatch funding mechanism since E-911 dispatch was implemented in Blaine County in 2007. The county is required to provide emergency communications to entities in its jurisdiction. Disagreements ensued over the cost of non-emergency, or administrative calls, which led a charge by Hailey to go to outside service provider Southern Idaho Regional Communications Center for non-emergency calls. Bellevue indicated it might also go to SIRCOMM. However, instead of joining Bellevue and Hailey, Sun Valley proposed a new plan.

     Under the new agreement, Sun Valley, Hailey and Bellevue will pay less for dispatch services than the county desired under a previous agreement. Blaine County will pay more. Dispatch calls will be handled under one roof by the Blaine County Emergency Dispatch Center in Hailey.     

      The new contract will charge $20,868 to Bellevue, $113,659 to Hailey and $88,280 to Sun Valley for dispatch services. Blaine County will pay $505,957.

      Sun Valley Mayor Dewayne Briscoe described the agreement in Blaine County Commission chambers as a “landmark day in Blaine County. It keeps jobs in Blaine County and keeps the cities from breaking off and going elsewhere.”

Tony Evans:

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