Lincoln County Commissioners this week listened to a small amount of public opinion on the county’s consideration of moving its 9-1-1 dispatch services to Salem at the Willamette Valley Communications Center (WVCC). WVCC serves 17 police, fire and medical response organizations throughout the upper Willamette Valley.
Those testifying before the commissioners stressed their desire to keep the services based in Newport with the current Lincom set up. Joe Van dehay said he’s an experienced volunteer firefighter and that he prefers to rely on Lincom dispatchers for fast, accurate dispatch services, as opposed to relying on somebody at the microphone in Salem. Vad dehay said that preventing one life being lost due to communications errors would be justification enough to stay with local dispatchers. And he called on the commissioners to put an issue on the ballot that would ask the voters whether they would support a property tax increase to form a county-wide dispatch center which would see 9-1-1 dispatch centers in Toledo and Lincoln City being folded under a Lincom banner of consolidation.
In response, County Commissioner Terry Thompson said the county is a relatively minor player in the scheme of things. He said the county has but one of the many votes that exist on the Lincom Board.
Communications consultant Doug Holbrook said he too supports retaining local control over 9-1-1 dispatch services. Holbrook also said
that he hasn’t heard a final set of numbers on what the final, final costs would be for WVCC to take over Lincom. Meanwhile, WVCC director Mark Bulchoz in Salem told News Lincoln County that Lincom’s member agencies all have WVCC’s sharpest-pencil-estimate of what annual costs would be, and if they hold steady, WVCC’s take over would be about or slightly lower than what is being proposed by other potential business models.
Hall said what is still missing are estimates from WVCC for transition costs during the transfer to WVCC. Hall says they hope to have those figures “in house,” Hall said he hopes to those figures, covering unemployment, employee benefits