Clark County commissioners may vote Wednesday on a proposed tax assessment to pay for a $4 million combined 9-1-1 dispatch center.
The commission held two public hearings in the past two weeks to discuss the issue.
The agenda for Wednesday’s meeting includes a vote on the proposed fee. An informal session will be held at 8:30 a.m., followed by the formal session at 10 a.m. on the fifth floor of the Clark County Municipal Court and County Offices building, 50 E. Columbia St.
County commissioners might decide to vote on the issue or shelve it until a future meeting, Clark County Commissioner Rick Lohnes said.
The city of Springfield and Clark County have long had separate emergency dispatch centers and depending on the type of phone or where a caller is, often have to transfer calls to each other. A consolidated center would eliminate duplicated services and improve response times, Lohnes said.
“It has to happen,” he said.
County commissioners can approve the assessment later this year without going on the ballot, per Ohio law.
The new dispatch center could cost up to $4 million per year, including renovations, security and new equipment, he said. The county would pay for any capital improvements as part of the proposed tax assessment funding model, Lohnes said.
The amount of the assessment is still to be determined but might be in the range of about $60 annually or about $5 per month. Any tract of land that’s been improved, such as a building, driveway or structure, will be assessed the same fee, leaders said. Clark County currently has about 59,500 improved parcels.
The assessment was the only proposed funding method agreed upon by the county 9-1-1 planning committee, which includes the city of Springfield and Bethel Twp., the county’s largest township.
It would likely save Springfield and the county about $1.5 million each in general fund tax dollars annually, while the townships would also save money, commissioners have said.
The entire county spends about $3.38 million on 9-1-1 dispatching, including $1.6 million by Springfield and $1.3 million by Clark County.
September 2013: Casino money might help pay for combined dispatch
March 2014: County dispatch to save German Twp. $30K
September 2015: Combined 9-1-1 system on hold for Springfield, Clark County
September 2016: New Clark County 11 system will soon allow emergency texts
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