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GIRARD Answer delayed on 911 center



Published: Sat, May 28, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The mayor said the offer will be under serious consideration soon.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

LIBERTY -- Township officials are awaiting a call from Girard officials on whether they want to join Liberty's 911 center.

Pat Ungaro, township administrator, sent a proposal in March to Mayor James Melfi offering 911 services for an annual cost of $95,000. The administrator has not received a response.

"It's their call, and I'm assuming at this point that they may not be interested," Ungaro said Friday.

Melfi, however, says officials are still considering the possibility.

"It's not a dead issue," the mayor said. "We will seriously be looking at the proposal and discussing it in the next month. "

The mayor noted that the city is facing serious financial problems and will be taking steps to save money.

Cutting costs

City Auditor Sam Zirafi told council during Monday's regular meeting that without any new revenue sources, the general fund will "go negative next year." Zirafi said council must be prepared to alter and reduce services provided by the general fund, which is facing a $1.6 million deficit.

"We are going to have to do something," Melfi said.

Ungaro stressed that the township's offer is flexible.

"We still want them to do it and we will work with them," Ungaro said. "If they want to try it for a year, they could. If they want to get out after a year, we would let them."

Girard spends $188,000 annually to maintain its service with three full-time personnel. The city also is paying a police captain to fill in or cover shifts when the dispatcher is unavailable. Last year the city received 2,515 calls to 911.

County system

Trumbull County commissioners also have said they will be asking communities such as Liberty and Girard to join the county 911 system.

Liberty's four full-time and four part-time dispatchers took 3,404 emergency 911 calls last year. The township quit the county system in 1998.

"We had asked about going back last year but the county never got back to us," Ungaro said.

Ungaro added that he believes Liberty's dispatch center is a better choice for Girard. He noted that if Girard chooses to use Liberty's 911 center it would also be able to use the township's holding cell facilities.

He noted that Girard's initial cost to enter the county 911 center would be $180,00 plus a monthly fee.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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