Grant County renewed its contract for dispatch services from the city of John Day, despite increased costs and a recommendation to change providers from the sheriff.
The Grant County Court voted to renew the one-year contract June 22.
Although the county anticipated a 10-percent increase from the $68,869 paid in the 2015-16 fiscal year, the new contract from the city this year called for a 15-percent increase to $79,198.
At the April 13 Grant County Court meeting, John Day City Manager Peggy Gray said the 15-percent increase was one of several steps necessary for the city to come closer to balancing the dispatch budget. She said the city reduced expenses and also asked fire departments to start paying, as well as Community Counseling Solutions, which use dispatch services.
Gray said the state 911 tax, which is distributed to dispatch centers, has remained at $0.75 per phone per month since 1995, but costs have increased.
Sheriff Glenn Palmer proposed attaining dispatch services from Frontier Regional 911 Dispatch in Condon in March and later served notice of his intent to sue the city and dispatch employees for breaching the contract “to provide appropriate information” to the sheriff Jan. 26 and other complaints.
At the April 13 meeting, Palmer said he had been told the state would be implementing regional dispatch centers, and he would rather choose the dispatch center than be assigned one.
County Judge Scott Myers said Palmer provided a one-page map after the meeting that showed current dispatch centers and potential regions into which they could be organized. Myers said he also obtained a 2012 study, “Consolidation Analysis and Next Generation 9-1-1 Implementation Study,” commissioned by the state Office of Emergency Management.
However, in an email to the Eagle, State 9-1-1 Program Manager Mark Tennyson said, “The state has no intent or authority to mandate PSAP (9-1-1 center) consolidation.”
Myers said no one from the sheriff’s office attended the June 22 meeting.