E-911 COMMISSION EYES $10.2M BUDGET
CROWN POINT — Members of Lake County’s E-911 commission had their first look Thursday at the 2015 proposed complete first-year operating budget for the consolidated E-911 dispatch center.
The $10.25 million proposed budget includes about $6.96 million for personnel and must be approved by the Lake County Public Safety Communications Commission and then forwarded on to the county commissioners and then the county council for approval.
“This is a pretty exciting day for me,” Larry Blanchard, commissioners’ consultant, said.
Blanchard worked with officials and E-911 Director Brian Hitchcock to figure out the bud- get. He said it has been a long journey since the process first began to the first year operating budget.
Consolidation of the county’s E-911 dispatch centers into no more than two centers was mandated by the state legislature about five years ago. Deadline for consolidation is Dec. 31.
Officials have been working toward the consolidation since that point gaining significant momentum in the past 12 to 18 months.
The budget is about $1 million more than the agency’s total funding including the levy transfer of the current participants, state 911 funds and county funds, according to Steve Dalton with Cender and Company. St. John, Schererville and Cedar Lake are continuing on a path to consolidate their three op- erations and not participate in the county-wide consolidation.
Dalton said having the three communities participate in the county-wide consolidation would add another approximately $800,000 in levy transfers.
“That is a significant portion of their deficit,” he said.
Hitchcock after the meeting said the 2015 budget currently includes staffing for the operation if all 18 units were to participate. If the three communities ultimately do not join staffing numbers would be reduced by about 10 percent, just shy of $700,000.
Any amount in the budget not covered by the levy transfer or the state 911 funds will be the sole responsibility of the county, according to the interlocal agreement creating the E-911 consolidation.