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TRUMBULL COUNTY Expert may evaluate 911 services



Published: Fri, April 29, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The consultant would be asked to look at several issues, including consolidation of services.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

HOWLAND -- A 911 consultant may soon be hired to review Trumbull County's dispatching services.

Commissioners and other community leaders are hoping a consultant can show officials the most cost effective way to operate the 911 system.

Officials decided to consider hiring a consultant after discussing the issue during a special meeting Wednesday at the Howland Township administration building.

Tony Carson, county administrator, said Thursday that he is conferring with members of the County Commissioners Association for names of consultants. He noted that he also is checking with state officials to find out if there is any grant money to pay for the consulting fees.

Carson says he hopes to find a consultant as soon as possible.

"Right now our 911 system is complicated and we would like someone to look at it and let us know if it has to be that complicated," county Commissioner Paul Heltzel said.

Heltzel and Carson said the consultant would be asked to look at several issues, including staffing levels and consolidation of services.

Recruiting communities

Also, the communities that are part of the 911 center are trying to find ways to persuade other communities to join them.

Liberty, Girard, Newton Falls, Warren Township, Niles, Hubbard and Lordstown have their own dispatching centers.

County Commissioner James Tsagaris has said that the only way to make sure the center is properly funded is to have all the communities join.

Trumbull County 911 dispatches for 20 townships, Cortland, Orangeville and the Trumbull County Sheriff's Department, said Darlene St. George, Howland Township administrator.

The county is in a financial crisis and is having problems balancing the 911 budget. The 911 center, located in Howland, had a $2.1 million budget last year but faces a $614,000 shortfall this year.

Last month, the county was set to lay off 15 dispatchers but all the townships that use 911 agreed to pay their yearly fee in advance to keep the center running.

Tsagaris and St. George said they want to find a way to keep the center running next year.

"We need a long-term solution," St. George said.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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