Some departments leaving Yarmouth fire dispatch
Seven fire departments had given their notification as of last week
Yarmouth town council was told last week that seven fire departments in the tri-counties have given their formal notification that they will be leaving the Yarmouth fire dispatch services.
In a report to an Oct. 24 committee of the whole meeting, Yarmouth Fire Chief John Verrall informed council of the decision of the departments.
Council was told that the Barrington/Port Latour; Island/Barrington Passage and Shelburne fire departments have indicated they will be moving their dispatch services to Valley Communications.
The Meteghan, Salmon River and Hectanooga fire departments will be moving to Digby dispatch services, Verrall said.
The Middle/Upper Ohio department in Shelburne intends to switch to Scotia Business Centre dispatch, located in Bridgewater.
“Those are the ones I know of. There might be other ones in the works that I may not know of,” said the chief. “But officially those are the ones that I have documentation on.”
Overall (including these departments) 24 departments receive dispatch services from the Yarmouth dispatch centre.
The future of the local dispatch service in Yarmouth has been up in the air since late April when the town issued layoff notices to the four dispatchers who work out of the Yarmouth fire department, saying it intended to explore other dispatch services that would be less costly to the town.
In the months since, there have been meetings, a protest outside of the town hall, lots of public discussion on social media and continued exploration of avenues to try and keep the local dispatch services in place.
The town has always stated it is not dissatisfied with the services in place, rather it says its taxpayers have been paying the bulk of the service and a more evenlyspread out funding formula or mechanism should be in place if this service remains.
The town has received two proposals for outside dispatch services but said last week it has not yet reviewed those proposals. Instead, it has been waiting to see if a proposal it submitted to fire chiefs is going to be accepted by the departments.
The town’s proposal would see departments pay for six months of dispatch services was based on a five-year average of their usage of the service. For many fire departments the six-month bill they would have to pay through this arrangement is quite costly compared to what they pay now for the dispatch service. The proposal also suggested the exploration of a one-cent area rate.
See DISPATCH, A2