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County panel OK with dispatching for Seneca's calls

Majority of entities Grundy ETSB serves must approve the addition

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 8:07 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 8:03 a.m. CDT

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The Grundy County Rules Committee approved providing Seneca with dispatch services through the Grundy County ETSB. Its recommendation will go to the full county board in Janurary.

The Grundy County Emergency Telephone System Board (911 board) is currently asking the 15 members for whom it provides dispatching service to approve an agreement adding Seneca ETSB and the village of Seneca.

In June 2012, the 911 board's executive committee approved a dispatching fee of $75,000 to take on Seneca police, fire and EMS calls. In addition, Seneca will pay a one-time impact fee of $15,000.The fee was determined by the board's finance committee based on call volume and legal fees.

Of the 15 parties, a majority have to approve the addition for Seneca to officially be added. So far, only a few have take action on the Seneca agreement.

Most recently, the Grundy County Rules Committee voted in favor of it at its Dec. 28, 2012, meeting. The Rules Committee's action is a recommendation to the Grundy County Board, which will vote on it Jan. 8.

"Coal City has some concerns, but I think in the long run it is a good thing. The more additions, the more benefits," said committee member Ann Gill.

County board Vice Chairman David Welter said the dispatch center has cost the county quite a bit of money and, in order for it to start saving the county money, more municipalities need to be added to the service agreement.

The 911 board is also currently working with Braidwood on the possibility of adding its dispatch calls as well. It approved offering Braidwood services for $80,000 a year, plus the one-time $15,000 fee.
NEXT CONTRACT

The 911 board's finance committee is still working on a new formula for the next dispatching service contract for all the parties, said Ron Severson, county board chairman at the Rules Committee meeting. The current contract is a three-year deal that will expire in 2014.

For the first contract, Grundy County and Morris took on the bulk of the cost to allow for the other agencies to adjust to the new budget item. Morris and the county have always paid for dispatch costs and were prepared for it, whereas the other parties have not paid for this service previously.

The largest stakeholders are Morris, which pays about $500,000; Grundy, at about $1.2 million; Minooka, about $100,000; and Coal City, about $50,000.

Severson said Morris and the county feel their numbers need to be adjusted now that the other parties have had time to adjust their budgets. 

"This operation was sold to the county board that it would save money. It was $1.2 million initially, and now there's $750,000 a year for the building," he said. "The county pays for the building, the land and utilities, so we need to come down on the $1.2 million because we're paying the bonds."

Welter said that, in the preliminary formula models he has seen, it is the fire districts that will be paying the most.

Severson said he believes the 911 board's finance committee will have something more concrete in the next month or so.

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