Discussions continue between Lincoln County 9-1-1 managers and those at Willamette Valley Communications Center (WVCC) with an eye to having WVCC take over Lincoln County 9-1-1 dispatching for all areas of the county except Lincoln City and Toledo. WVCC , based in Salem, already provides police and fire vehicle computer services and corresponding records management for both Toledo and Lincoln City. The motivation for Lincom to reach out to WVCC to assume dispatching services is money. It’s been reported that Lincom has been spending down their reserves over the last two years, and by the end of the current fiscal year, June 30, 2012, Lincom will not have enough revenues to keep going, that according to Lincom Board member and Lincoln County Commissioner Don Lindly. Lindly says the Lincom Board has held out hope that a consolidated county-wide 9-1-1 dispatch system might be eventually created, but neither Lincoln City nor Toledo have showed much interest. In both cities, their dispatchers perform other duties. And there remains, in their eyes, a very big problem with not having back-up dispatch capabilities in the event a major disaster cuts Lincoln County off from the Willamette Valley, the source of all 9-1-1 call routings. Several years ago Lincoln City was isolated for days with no 9-1-1 service following a very strong Pacific storm that blew 100 mph+ winds along the coast. City Manager David Hawker said “That memory of all the stress and chaos remains very clear in our minds. Lincoln City needs 9-1-1 redundancy.”
However, with the expectation that a major fiber-optic inter-tie between Lincoln City and Newport will be in place within the year, the prospect of a consolidated Lincoln County based, 9-1-1 system could improve and convince Lincoln City to consider joining a single county-wide 9-1-1 system. Toledo City Manager Michelle Amberg says their main reason for not joining is that their local system is state of the art and serves the community well. “We believe that having a 24/7 staffed police station with dispatchers is a must for their town,” Amberg said, “It’s important that anyone in Toledo, with any kind of trouble, has a place they can to go for help.”
This afternoon, the Lincom Users Board, made up of police, sheriff and fire/rescue services, will hear a report from Lincom Manager Tami Atkinson that may partially redefine the county’s 9-1-1 service situation. After consulting with Willamette Valley Communications and their tentative contract offering, Atkinson is expected to ask the Users Board, and the Executive Board which meets right after, to slow down the momentum to turning 9-1-1 services over to WVCC and will provide financial and cost statements to back up her claim.