WEST UNION — Fayette County and the city of Oelwein will resume discussions at 9:30 a.m. Monday in the county courthouse in West Union regarding merging emergency dispatch operations.
City leaders told the Board of Supervisors at a face-to-face meeting if February that they are willing to consolidate the Oelwein Police dispatch center with that of the Sheriff’s Office. The city offered to initially pay the county a fee rate comparable to what the county charges Fayette and West Union. That will equate to roughly $22,000 annually.
However, City Administrator Dylan Mulfinger and Police Chief Jeremy Logan also urged the county to explore alternate method of funding the service. As it stands, only communities in the county with their own standalone law enforcement agencies are being asked to pay additional fees for service, Logan said.
“More than half the counties in Iowa fund their dispatch centers through the (emergency management) levy, and that’s equitable throughout the county for everyone to provide that fee for that service,” Logan said at the February meeting.
Mulfinger also told the supervisors at that meeting that the city will present information at Monday’s meeting about levies used in other counties to pay for dispatching. He also said the city will present a committee format proposal to give the city representation regarding dispatch center operations.
The county would need to add up to two dispatcher positions to handle the call load from Oelwein, Sheriff Marty Fisher said.
Supervisors Jeanine Tellin and Janell Bradley voiced concerns about burdening county taxpayers to provide the service to the city. They also wanted to have more information regarding technological upgrades to the Sheriff’s Office dispatch system that the county was exploring separate from the consolidation proposal.
The county has since learned overhauling the county’s aging emergency radio system could cost as much as $7.6 million.
Oelwein’s system has already been upgraded to the technological level the county is considering.
The dispatch merger talks are scheduled during the County Board’s regular meeting, which begins at 9 a.m. Its agenda also includes:
— An update from County Engineers Joel Fantz on a Secondary Roads update.
— Approval of bids for the construction of the Fayette County Maintenance Facility
— Discussion and possible decision regarding updating Microsoft 365 Business Licensing.
— Discussion and possible decision regarding Fiber Optic with Hawkeye Telephone.
— Discussion regarding painting the judge’s chambers on the third floor.