Portage County Executive Patty Dreier said the joint dispatch center “ball” is now in the city’s court, but Stevens Point Mayor Andrew Halverson said more information is needed about Dreier’s proposal to merge the county’s and city’s dispatch centers into one unit.
Dreier outlined her offer to make a joint dispatch center a reality in a letter to Halverson, stating that while the county cannot unilaterally absorb all costs to expand its dispatch center in the Sheriff’s Department to make it capable of handling city calls, too, it does not wish to financially profit from the arrangement. “We are able to offer these services to you at an annual operating cost of $552,000 with an initial one-time buy-in (start up) of $127,300,” she states in the letter.
She said this would involve a one-time levy transfer for the annual operating costs, at which point the county would assume all responsibility for cost increases in the future. “With the transfer of financial responsibilities moving from the City to the County, the businesses and residents of the City of Stevens Point would see a corresponding reduction in their tax rate,” said Dreier in the letter.
Halverson said more information about this financial arrangement is needed before the city can begin the process of looking at this offer. “It’s very interesting, but we need clarification on the finances,” Halverson said. “The communication (between the county and city) needs to be clear and more concise.”