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Mahoning 911 group collects data on consolidation process



Published: Thu, July 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



There are no two-county 911 consolidations in Ohio.

YOUNGSTOWN -- A task force created to look at consolidating emergency 911 services for Mahoning and Trumbull counties and Youngstown has given itself a September deadline to get key questions answered on how that process can be achieved.

The nine-member task force has visited the 911 centers in the counties and the city to look at their strengths and weaknesses as a first step in the process.

The task force met Wednesday at Mahoning County's Emergency Management Agency building on Industrial Road to outline its next step.

Aiding the task force are Walter M. Duzzny, director of Mahoning County's EMA, and Tim Gladis, Trumbull County's 911 director.

Duzzny said what the task force is attempting to do is rare. He said he and Gladis have not been able to find a two-county merger of 911 services in Ohio, let alone a proposed merger of two counties and a city.

Gladis said Allegheny County in Pennsylvania is going about merging 911 services within that county, and he said a county official would be willing to meet with the task force to discuss that plan.

Key areas

Task force member Dan Faustino, Brookfield police chief, said he thought the three major areas the panel should address are funding, the legality of consolidation and the operational strategy that would need to be implemented.

Another task force member, Atty. David Comstock Jr., fire chief for the Western Reserve Joint Fire District, which serves the Village of Poland and Poland Township, said other things he would like to look at would include the current number of call takers, radio dispatchers, salary ranges for 911 personnel, the number and location of communication towers and estimated budgets for all three call centers.

Duzzny suggested the task force members take the time before Sept. 28, the date of the next meeting, to try to get questions answered, get comparisons and be prepared for detailed discussions.

Gladis said once the raw data is collected and refined, the task force can see what kind of consolidation can or cannot take place.

Duzzny said the state's U.S. congressmen also should be contacted to ask them about potential federal funding sources.

Elected officials from the three political subdivisions gathered for a joint meeting in March in Youngstown to look at the operating numbers for the emergency call centers in the three entities.

That meeting was in response to an offer made in February by Youngstown Mayor George M. McKelvey to enter into a 10-year, $5 million contract for 911 services between either Mahoning County and the city or the two counties and the city.

Each political subdivision has three members on the task force.




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