LIMA – Eleven political subdivisions of Allen County contribute – under contracts that in some cases date back a decade or more – just over $ 234,000 of the nearly $ 1.2 million needed each year to operate 911 dispatch operations at the county sheriff’s office.
Four other subdivisions served by the sheriff’s office currently pay nothing for these services, while the Township of Shawnee and the City of Lima maintain their own dispatches.
All of this leads to a virtually non-existent funding formula that the Allen County Board of Commissioners is trying to simplify and make fairer through conversations with county stakeholders. Talks are underway with village officials and township administrators, firefighters and law enforcement to establish a central county dispatch. Those discussions continued at the Ohio Means Jobs / Department of Jobs and Family Services office in Lima on Wednesday and focused on funding options.
Commissioners Cory Noonan, Beth Seibert and Brian Winegardner chaired the meeting of village and township guests. Noonan stressed that there was no timeline for the establishment and operation of a central dispatch.
“Whether it takes X months or X years, we are now on this path,” Noonan said. “Our goal is to obtain a fair financial solution for a central distribution. Our position is that we have to find a way where everyone pays according to some kind of equation. “
Figures were provided at the meeting which showed the Allen County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Management Agency currently bear the lion’s share of the cost of the county’s shipping: $ 960,500 per year . The Allen County General Fund contributes $ 413,000, while $ 322,400 is from 911 sales tax and $ 225,000 is from 911-PUCO funding.
Of the 11 contributing subdivisions, the cost of dispatch services ranges from a maximum of $ 92,000 for the town of Delphos to a minimum of $ 1,905 for the villages of Beaverdam, Cairo, Harrod, Spencerville and Westminster. The Village of Bluffton pays close to $ 27,000 and the Township of Perry pays $ 18,522 per year.
The Village of Elida, Marion Township, Ohio State University-Lima, and the Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District – all of which are beneficiaries of the Sheriff’s Dispatch Office – are not under contract and are not currently contributing anything.
Additional figures presented by the Commissioners showed a five-year average of service calls from each of the contracted and non-contracted entities. Over 66% of service calls are generated by the Sheriff’s Office, Bluffton and American Township leading the way among outlying areas with 7.2% and 6.1% of total annual calls, respectively.
Among the financing options discussed was the assessment of communities based on their service call rates. In this scenario, the contract for Bluffton, for example, would drop from $ 36,900 to $ 102,802 per year.
Noonan said that basing a funding formula strictly on call-for-service rates “is not a fair way” to fund central dispatch.
Other funding options proposed by township officials included a county-wide sales tax of 0.01 thousandths and continued attempts to convince the Township of Shawnee and the City of Lima to join the proposal. central distribution. Noonan said county officials continue to be committed to working with those responsible for these communities.
“We’re still in Stage 1 with what we’re talking about here today,” Winegardner said. “The next step, which will be more in-depth, will be to get everyone to the table. But we are not there yet. “
US Township Representative Paul Basinger said the county’s efforts in recent years to improve dispatch services are greatly appreciated. He expressed his support for the ongoing discussions.
“I think we are going in the right direction here. Our call times (911) have been drastically reduced, ”said Basinger. “If we keep moving forward, we’ll see even more improvements. These discussions are great and necessary.
“Everyone’s number one goal here is to save lives,” Winegardner said.
Township fire and police and village officials listened to discussions on funding options for a central dispatch office in Allen County on Wednesday.
County Commissioners Cory Noonan, standing, and Brian Winegardner reviewed amounts currently being paid by Allen County Political Subdivisions to fund current 911 dispatch operations.
Allen County Commissioner Cory Noonan addresses village and township representatives on Wednesday at a meeting called to continue conversations surrounding the formation of a centralized 911 dispatch operation for the county.