NOW:53146:USA01489
http://widgets.journalinteractive.com/cache/JIResponseCacher.ashx?duration=5&url=http%3A%2F%2Fdata.wp.myweather.net%2FeWxII%2F%3Fdata%3D*USA01489
55°
H 57° L 54°
Cloudy | 6MPH

New Berlin aldermen want more time on fate of dispatch center

Consultant recommends city disband its center

May 22, 2012

New Berlin - Aldermen on Tuesday night said they need more time to make a decision on whether to disband the city's police and fire dispatch center and use Waukesha County's consolidated dispatching operation.

They said they have to weigh saving millions by switching to county dispatch against the loss of local control over some emergency services functions.

But Ald. John Hopkins suggested that the council make its decision soon, perhaps at its June 12 meeting.

Tuesday was the first time the council discussed the issue, after earlier receiving a report from a consultant that advised the city to disband its dispatch center.

A decision is needed soon, Police Chief Joe Rieder and Mayor Jack Chiovatero told aldermen, out of fairness to dispatchers. Some are already looking for jobs elsewhere, Rieder said.

However, Ald. Dave Ament said he was not ready to make a decision Tuesday night. He said it is a big decision for the city to make, as important as when the city decided to switch in 2001 from a volunteer fire department to a municipal department.

Ament said the community just wrapped up three public information meetings that Rieder held on the dispatch issue and the council needed more time weigh information gleaned from those sessions.

In March, the consultant recommended the city disband its dispatch center and use the Waukesha County Communications Center, a move the consultant says would save New Berlin and its taxpayers nearly $9 million over 10 years.

The city has been looking for ways to save money and hired Springsted Inc. of Milwaukee to evaluate the city's options for dispatching police and fire calls.

The county's joint dispatch center began operations in 2004 and handles calls in 29 communities in Waukesha County. At the time the joint center was being created, New Berlin decided not to join, in part because the city had recently built a new public safety building that included a dispatch center.

Springsted noted in its 44-page report that although the city operates its own dispatch center, New Berlin residents also help fund the operation of the county's center through annual property taxes they pay to the county. This year, city residents are paying $458,823 toward the county's center, the study says.

The city would have to pay a one-time buy-in fee of about $400,000 to join the county dispatch system, but there are no annual fees after that.

The study noted that keeping its own dispatch center is a viable option for New Berlin. But it said the city will have to make a significant investment in the years ahead. In 2014, the city will have to spend about $830,000 for equipment, including the next-generation 911 system. The study projects the city having to spend slightly more than $1 million for upgrades in 2022.

The city has 12 dispatchers and has budgeted nearly $1 million this year for dispatching operations.

Rieder has been encouraging New Berlin to keep its local dispatch center. "Our officers and firefighters get a lot of advantage from our own dispatch center. Our dispatchers are able to look up names. They're able to farm information and do a lot of the administrative investigative work for some of the officers while they are out on the street," Rieder said in April.

The City of Waukesha also considered disbanding its dispatch center and merging with the county's to save money but aldermen. The Waukesha Common Council on May 15 voted to keep its police and fire dispatch services in-house for now, but to leave the door open to future collaboration with Waukesha County and its consolidated dispatch center.

Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack had urged the council to reject consolidation.

He said a study, which included interviews with other county customers and with county dispatchers and a massive public records review, concluded that any saving realized by consolidation would be more than offset by the loss of local control and quality of services to city residents.

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Suburban News Roundup

E-mail Newsletter

Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.


Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter
Get the Newsletter!

Login or Register to manage all your newsletter preferences.

Community Watch

» Part of busy Lawnsdale Road in New Berlin to be closed 7/29

» Former New Berlin teacher charged in laptop thefts 7/29

» Top 10 things to see and do at the Wisconsin State Fair 7/29

» Jury trial set for Rep. Bill Kramer on sexual assault charges 7/26

» A new Fairest of the Fair will be crowned Wednesday night at the Waukesha County Fair 7/15

» Man hospitalized in police custody after New Berlin police standoff 7/11

» New Berlin strip mall standoff appears to be over Updated:  7/9

» Former Salentine property in Muskego to be self-storage business, coffee shop 7/3

» Costco proposes store in New Berlin; considers Pleasant Prairie Updated:  7/3

» Self-storage — and coffee house — proposed for former Buick dealership 6/27

» Milwaukee suburbs Fourth of July 2014 celebrations 6/20

» Social media photos of the June 18 storms around Southeast Wisconsin 6/18

» Fire destroys trailer home in Franklin 6/14

» New option surfaces for Muskego High School weight room 6/4

» Muskego softball team tips North to claim Classic 8 championship 5/30

» New Berlin West High School students evacuated due to smoke from lab 5/28

» Bill Kramer pleads not guilty to sexual assault, waives hearing Updated:  5/15

» New Berlin schools listed among top in Wisconsin for college placements 5/5

» Victim ID'd in fatal Waukesha car crash 5/5

» Communities net $1.2 million rebate from Waukesha County recycling 4/21

» New Berlin accepts offers for two former school properties 4/17

» Waukesha Town Chairman John Marek battles car fire in Muskego 4/16

» Waukesha County Board OKs recycling program with Milwaukee Updated:  4/9

» Ex-MSOE dean gets year in jail for drunken, wrong-way freeway drive 4/3

» Muskego manufacturer plans new headquarters 4/1

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss
Deal Watch - Milwaukee

Milwaukee's Best Discounts & Deals

Local Business Directory

CONNECT