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Grundy County board tables funding agreement for dispatch center

Published: Sunday, March 23, 2014 10:46 p.m. CDT

MORRIS – The Grundy County 911 board is not ready to approve a new intergovernmental agreement for its dispatch center.

Some board members objected to an agreement last week that was brought to them for approval.

Minooka Police Chief Justin Meyer said the language used in the agreement regarding the amount Grundy County has committed to pay for dispatching services is not fair for the municipalities.

“The language in here, right now, does not assure long-term stability for the village,” Meyer said during the board meeting Wednesday. “And that’s what we want.”

Three years ago, Morris dispatch and Grundy County dispatch consolidated their services. A new 911 dispatch center was built south of Morris on Route 47. The new dispatch center provides services for 14 police departments and fire districts in the county.

Grundy County built and paid for the facility, but shared the cost of dispatch operations with the city of Morris.

For the last 18 months, the 911 finance committee has collected data and developed a comprehensive cost-sharing formula to determine the cost burden for the 14 agencies using dispatch services.

The county board passed a resolution in January agreeing to pay $1.06 million every year for the life of the next intergovernmental agreement.

With the proposed agreement, the remaining agencies would not pay a fixed amount, but a percentage of the entire budget. What those agencies pay goes up or down depending on whether the 911 center goes over or under its budget.

Meyer said the county should also have to pay more if the center goes over budget.

“If there is a shortfall, Grundy County will not have to contribute and all the other municipalities will,” Meyer said. “If this is supposed to be a fair and equal contract, then the county’s share should go up too.”

Morris Police Chief Brent Dite, and others on the 911 board, said Grundy County was unlikely to change its contribution to a percentage because it has rejected the idea before.

“It’s been told to [the county] for a number of months that their number would be stagnate,” Dite said. “I think for us to go backwards on that would be dishonest.”

The board tabled the pending agreement until it meets again in April.

The dispatch budget is now funded by Grundy County and four municipalities, Morris, Coal City, Minooka and Mazon. Grundy County and Morris pay the majority of the costs. Grundy pays $1.15 million and would save about $90,000 a year if locked into $1.06 million. Morris pays $500,000. Minooka pays $100,000, Coal City $50,000 and Mazon $1,000.

With the proposed agreement, Morris would pay 44.7 percent or about $272,000. Minooka would pay 32.8 percent or about $200,000. Coal City would pay 14.4 percent or about $88,000. Ten other communities also would contribute under the new agreement.

Meyer said he and other Minooka officials intend to go to the Grundy County Finance Committee to address the issue.

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