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Plan for merged dispatch center advances

Oct. 20, 2010

Bayside — Village officials last week backed a proposal to form a consolidated dispatch center that could be housed in Bayside. If plans proceed, the combined facility could possibly serve seven communities.

There are three dispatch centers between the seven Milwaukee County North Shore communities. Glendale, Shorewood and Whitefish Bay pool resources for the Whitefish Bay-based center. Bayside, Fox Point and River Hills have a similar arrangement for the Bayside-based center. Brown Deer has its own center. Citing cost savings, a proposal to combine the three centers into one has been brought to the table.

Savings and speed

A subcommittee comprised of officials from the seven communities favored combining resources and facilities. In addition to cost savings, the committee examined operations and governance and concluded call processing would be quicker in one location.

Specific cost estimates will be determined once it becomes known how many communities would participate in the combined center. But the subcommittee asserted all communities stand to save money annually by pooling resources into one.

Bayside is one of three communities that has officially favored combined dispatch; the Glendale Common Council and Whitefish Bay Village Board also approved a resolution to look further into the proposal.

River Hills officials were expected to vote on the issue Wednesday, after press deadline, and the Village Boards for Fox Point and Shorewood will likely take the matter up in November.

Brown Deer has hired a consultant to look further into the issue and crunch numbers. The subcommittee's report estimated Brown Deer could save about $1.2 million in capital costs over a 10-year period of time if consolidation took place.

While taking the issue up last week, the Bayside Village Board was supportive of the plan and passed the non-binding resolution as a pledge toward moving forward.

Logistical concerns

Trustee Rob DeGraff expressed concerns about how a combined center would be governed, and whether the Bayside board would have any input on issues affecting the center. An intergovernmental agreement between the participating communities ultimately would determine how logistics work out.

"Over time, I do think this has a huge, positive financial impact for the village," DeGraff said.

Village President Samuel Dickman praised Police Chief Bruce Resnick and Village Manager Andy Pederson for their efforts in bringing the combined center to this advanced stage.

"This isn't quite as visionary, but I think this is akin to the North Shore Fire Department," Dickman said, referring to the combined department, formed 15 years ago, that serves the seven communities.

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