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.
MORE: Clark County weighs 9-1-1 tax, funding models vary across Ohio
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.
The Clark County dispatch center. Bill Lackey/Staff
July 2013: Unified dispatchcenterplan moves forward
September 2013: Casino money might help pay for combined dispatch
March 2014: County dispatch to save German Twp. $30K
May 2014: Unified dispatch center technology to cost millions
September 2015: Combined 9-1-1 system on hold for Springfield, Clark County
June 2016: Report urges Springfield, county to look at merged government options
April 2016: Clark County Commissioner: Drowning highlights dispatch problems
September 2016: New Clark County 11 system will soon allow emergency texts
August 2016: State Auditor: Clark County could be test case for shared services
January 2017: Clark County, Springfield still mulling combined dispatch center
July 2017: Clark County plan includes combined 911 dispatch, modernized fairgrounds
November 2017: Clark County to spend $140K for consultant for combined 911 center
Staying with the story
The Springfield News-Sun has tracked the city of Springfield and Clark County’s efforts to create a combined 9-1-1 emergency dispatch center for more than five years, including stories digging into the cost and call volumes.