Lincoln City’s City Council will meet in a workshop this week to debate whether to join with Newport, Lincoln County and a number of fire districts in a consolidated 9-1-1 dispatch service to help lower Lincoln City’s dispatch costs. Currently Lincoln City has its own police and fire 9-1-1 dispatch center housed in the police department. Since the city is in the process of planning for a new police building, they’re exploring consolidating dispatch services with Willamette Valley Communications Center based in Salem which now dispatches all other emergency services in Lincoln County except for Toledo. Contracting with WVCC would give police more room in their new building since they wouldn’t have to house their current 9-1-1 operations. Dispatching would also include North Lincoln Fire and Rescue.
Lincoln City’s change of heart about teaming up with WVCC stems from increased redundancy in the system, in that there is now two fiber optic links to the main 9-1-1 switching centers in the valley; Sheridan and now Eugene so if one goes down, the other can handle the load.
By consolidating with WVCC it’s estimated that Lincoln City would save nearly $287,000 a year in dispatching costs. That number is, however, just an estimate at this point according to Police Chief Steven Buchard. Chief Buchard also indicated that it is the city’s position that a back-up dispatch center for Lincoln County be located somewhere in Lincoln City. However, other sites have also been mentioned by Newport and Toledo. But again, Toledo has chosen not to consolidated with WVCC. It is not known whether not being awarded 9-1-1 back-up in Lincoln City would be a deal-breaker for Lincoln City.
The council workshop is scheduled for 2pm, Tuesday, at City Hall’s northwest conference room, across from the city manager’s office.