Saint Francis Considers Consolidating Dispatch Services

Jan. 24, 2014

Currently the City of Saint Francis is looking into a possible consolidation of dispatch with the City of Oak Creek. The City Council has been exploring this issue for over a year. Now with the new Civic Center going up we need to come to a decision on whether to consolidate or put a new dispatch facility in the new Civic Center.

There are many things to consider in making a decision to consolidate or not. You have to look at the safety of our police officers and fire fighters, quality of service to our citizens, and obviously the cost. We are ONLY looking to consolidate dispatch, all other emergency services will still be in St. Francis. Up until this point we have had rough numbers of cost and of savings to the city. Our current dispatch equipment is dated and will need to be upgraded in the new facility. Currently we operate with one dispatcher per shift to handle both police and fire calls. I believe we are under staffed in this area and would need to add a dispatcher to first and second shift. With the current call volume on third shift I think one dispatcher at this time would be sufficient. The city has been putting money aside the last few years anticipating needing to upgrade our system but is not enough to cover the total cost at this time. Obviously adding extra staff will also raise the cost of operating the dispatch.

As for consolidating with Oak Creek, I believe that the service we would receive would be the same as the service our dispatchers would proved once upgrades to equipment and personnel are done. I would not expect our response times to emergencies to change. As for the cost savings by consolidating I don't have a solid number of what it would be. The rough estimates I have seen it would roughly be $50,000 - $100,000 per year savings. I would also like to add that Oak Creek is willing to hire our 4 full time dispatchers, so no one will be losing their job unless they choose to look for employment elsewhere.

With that being said as your elected official I am seeking your opinion on what you the citizen would like to see done with dispatch. Understand that if we do keep dispatch in the City of St. Francis, it would be at a cost, with a possible raise in your property taxes. How high of a raise, I cannot say. Like the savings with consolidating I don't have solid numbers to say what it would be at this time. A final decision will be coming within the next two months. I'm looking for your opinion as whether to move forward with consolidation with Oak Creek or keep dispatch in Saint Francis no matter what the cost is to the tax payers. You can contact me via email at mcsweeneym@stfranwi.org

Now is the time to voice your opinion before it is too late. I look forward to hearing from each and every citizen in the City of Saint Francis.

Mike McSweeney
2nd District Alderperson

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