Posts Tagged NERCOMM dispatch

Cary may subsidize fire district with SEECOM (more)

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Weeks after the Cary Village Board discussed subsidizing the Cary Fire Protection District to prevent the district from changing dispatch providers, the fire district’s board of trustees said it is not interested in taking money from the village. They made their position clear at a meeting last week in which they directed Fire Chief Jeffrey Macko to tell representatives from the village and SEECOM it will not accept a subsidy from the village.

Village Administrator Chris Clark had raised the idea of a $25,000 to $30,000 financial bridge at the Committee of the Whole’s May 6 meeting after the fire district received a less expensive contract offer from NERCOMM, a McHenry dispatch center.

Currently, both Cary police and fire services are dispatched through SEECOM. If the fire district moves to NERCOMM, all calls would be routed there, and police calls would require a transfer to SEECOM, which would lead to a short delay.

At Thursday’s meeting, fire trustees said much of the county already has fractionalized service, including parts of Cary’s district in unincorporated McHenry and Lake counties. Macko said NERCOMM offered a rate of $28 a call as opposed to $51, and the contract would save the district an estimated $240,000 over five years.

“I think it was totally wrong for the village to offer to do this,” board President Ernest Carlson said. “It’s not right. We’re trying to save the taxpayers money. What are they doing? They’re taking it out of one pocket and giving it to us? It’s ludicrous.”

Although Clark and Police Chief Patrick Finlon had expressed concerns about having to transfer police calls between dispatch centers, several trustees recoiled at the idea of subsidizing another taxing body.

Macko said he would deliver the message to village and SEECOM officials. The dispatch center had provided a 90-day extension on the fire district’s current contract, and the trustees agreed to wait to see if SEECOM offered a lower rate.

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Cary may subsidize fire district with SEECOM

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The Cary Village Board is considering whether to provide the Cary Fire Protection District with a financial bridge to prevent the district from switching its dispatch services to McHenry’s new facility and creating a fractionalized dispatch situation for the village.

Village Administrator Chris Clark told the Committee of the Whole this week that the McHenry dispatch center called NERCOMM, which will be one of three in the county after state-mandated dispatch consolidation takes effect next year, offered the fire district an annual rate about $40,000 less than the offer from SEECOM.

Currently, both Cary’s police and fire services are dispatched through Crystal Lake-based SEECOM. The village of Cary is an equity partner in SEECOM, and Clark told board members it could not move village police to another dispatch center until bonds are paid off in December 2019.

If the fire district jumped to McHenry’s center, Clark said, all calls would be routed there and calls requiring police would require a transfer to SEECOM, which would lead to a short delay in response time and potential for anomaly situations where calls are not transferred properly.

Police Chief Patrick Finlon said he was concerned about calls being handled by more than one dispatch center and the complications that could create.

Clark presented the board with the possibility of contributing a yearly subsidy of $25,000 to $30,000 to keep fire dispatch at SEECOM.

The village of Huntley and Lake in the Hills both had fractionalized service until the consolidation mandate led their police departments to move to SEECOM.

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Woodstock to close dispatch center and join McHenry

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The city of Woodstock has approved an intergovernmental agreement to join the McHenry Police Department dispatch center. It costs about $856,000 per year to operate the existing Woodstock dispatch center, and operation costs with the new dispatch center are estimated to be $502,000 in the first year.

The city will also have to make two one-time payments for the transition, including about $144,000 for dispatch equipment and $189,000 in payouts for Woodstock dispatcher’s whose positions are being eliminated, according to the agreement.

Woodstock Police Chief Robert Lowen said the negative part of the change is that the Woodstock dispatch center staff will no longer be staffed at the police department 24/7, and new dispatchers might not be as familiar with the city.

“We’re going to lose some of that connection; however, over time the consolidated dispatch center will become more familiar with the intimacies of town,” Lowen said.

The expanded center, will be called the McHenry County Northeastern Regional Communications Center, or NERCOMM.

It currently dispatches for McHenry police, Johnsburg police, McCullom Lake police, the McHenry Township Fire Protection District, Marengo fire, Marengo rescue, and Union fire, and is in the process of expanding to also include Harvard and Marengo in response to a state mandate to cut the number of dispatch centers in half.

Eight full-time and two part-time dispatchers work at Woodstock’s dispatch center. Of the eight full-time employees, one will transfer to a records clerk position with Woodstock police, and five will become NERCOMM dispatchers, according to the agreement.

The city of Woodstock receives about $84,000 from the Woodstock Fire Rescue District to provide its dispatching services, and the district’s costs are expected to increase to $120,000 with the new dispatch agreement, City Manager Roscoe Stelford said.

For the next five years, the city will subsidize the fire district up to $36,000 per year, Woodstock Finance Director Paul Christensen said.

“The city is seeing savings, and so we’re willing to share some of our savings for the first five years to help them mitigate the increase,” Christensen said.

The agreement was approved unanimously at Tuesday’s Woodstock City council meeting.

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