Cost is less to go than to stay
By Robert Guttersohn
Although negotiations still continue, the township would pay $84,735 for the next three years if local 911 dispatching is moved to the Trumbull County 911 Center, said Ernie Cook, the county 911 administrator.
Cook spoke at Monday’s trustee meeting.
The cost is considerably less than what Liberty pays to operate its own center.
In 2011, it cost Liberty $302,000 to run the local dispatch center. The 1.25-mill levy that funds the Liberty dispatch brought in only $280,000 and is expected to bring in only $270,000 for 2012 due to decreased property values.
Trustees will vote at next month’s meeting to terminate the current levy and place a 0.45-mill levy on the November ballot that would bring in $94,000 and cost a household worth $100,000 about $15 a year.
Liberty would not collect the taxes until 2014, leaving trustees with finding a way to fund the county 911 fee in 2013.
“We do have to bridge that gap,” said Trustee Chairman Stan Nudell.
Nudell said the county wants to purchase some of Liberty’s 911 equipment, which would chip into the first year’s cost.
Township Administrator Pat Ungaro also is looking into $50 million in grant money the state set aside for local government consolidation in hopes it also could help.
Liberty Police Chief Richard Tisone publicly praised the potential move.
Tisone told the audience that packed the trustee meeting room that the savings to the police department, which has been forced to pay $30,000 from its own budget to keep the Liberty 911 center financially afloat, could mean buying new cruisers or hiring another police officer.
“I know some of the folks in our department are not happy about it, but it’s time to move on,” Tisone said, acknowledging the disagreement among some of the police officers.
To Tisone, the regionalization of 911 dispatch responsibilities is the way of the future for municipalities.
“I’m going to make a prediction: You’re going to see a lot of other agencies go to the county,” Tisone said. “They just can’t afford it.”