Robertson County 911 Dispatch Costs, Who Should Pay?
ROBERTSON COUNTY TENNESSEE: (Smokey Barn News) – It’s a service we all count on during an emergency. Whether it be fire, sickness or crime, without the talented people at the Robertson County 911 Dispatch Center, it would all grind to a halt. The question is, who should pay for the service.
To make a long story short, back in 2010 Robertson County consolidated the dispatch services of Springfield, White House, and county calls under one roof. It’s called the Emergency Communication (911) Center and it’s located in Springfield not far from the Robertson County/Springfield Airport. Smokey was there for the facility’s grand opening. (Grand opening)
Since it’s opening in 2010, Springfield, White House and Robertson County have been picking up the tab. Now on the table is a plan to spread out the costs to the other cities in Robertson County. Other than White House and Springfield those cities are Adams, Orlinda, Greenbrier, Cross Plains, Ridgetop and Coopertown. It’s not a new question, it’s just now officially on the table.
According to Robertson County Mayor Billy Vogle, it’s something that should have been done a decade ago. “White House and Springfield were deeply concerned that the rest of the cities were not paying their fair share,” Vogle said. Vogle added that in the last couple of years the cost of running the Dispatch Center has climbed significantly due to population growth, followed by an increase in the number of calls going into the 911 Center.
That being said, here’s a look at the proposed numbers and research used to generate the numbers and costs each city will be asked to pay, assuming the Robertson County Commission and the cities can come to an agreement.
According to Mayor Vogle, a detailed study was done by MTAS/CTAS to determine how much each city should pay.
Here’s a look at the numbers:
Calls for Service
The following numbers come directly from Dispatch records. The fire calls in the spreadsheet allocated to cities represent the fire calls inside the cities. It is impossible to distinguish between mutual aid calls (fire departments help each other) outside the city (these calls would have already been counted for the original entity) and the calls made as a first response, so these calls were not counted.
The population of Robertson County is 66,283 residents. The service population includes an additional 6,672 residents in the Sumner County side of White House.
The Robertson County residents in Portland (62) and Millersville (1,524) are subtracted since both of those cities are part of the Sumner County emergency communications consolidation.
For the purposes of this analysis, the overall service population for emergency services dispatching is 71,369.
Springfield population: 16,440
White House population: 11,600
Greenbriar population: 6,433
Coopertown population: 4,278
Cross Plains population: 1,714
Ridgetop population: 2,054
Orlinda population: 859
Adams population: 633
Robertson County: 27,358 (service population, minus municipal population)
Note: Cedar Hill population is included in the county population, as they have no emergency services and are served by the county.
Each entity’s percentage of calls for service was multiplied by ½ the current operating budget. The percentage of the population for each entity was multiplied by ½ the current operating budget, then the two numbers are added together for a projected cost for each entity.
NOTE: These projections are for comparison purposes only and should not be viewed as a proposed budget. The allocations are based on the current budget year’s operating costs.
Below are the totals that each city is being asked to pay. Remember the totals are generated by the size of the city and the number of calls for service in a calendar year. It’s also important to remember that the county population and calls for service have grown over the last ten years.
The numbers were approved by the Budget Committee and it was delivered to Robertson County Commission on Monday. The duplicated top numbers are for easy retrieval and search purposes.
- Robertson County Dispatch Budget proposed – $701,973
- Springfield Dispatch Budget proposed – $374,384
- White House Dispatch Budget proposed – $239,749
- Greenbrier Dispatch Budget proposed – $113,894
- Coopertown Dispatch Budget proposed – $64,818
- Cross Plains Dispatch Budget proposed – $20,597
- Ridgetop Dispatch Budget proposed – $23,744
- Orlinda Dispatch Budget proposed – $10,409
- Adams Dispatch Budget proposed – $7,718
The above proposal is the amount that each city is being asked to pay. Should a city elect to not participate they will be left with the task of setting up their own radio dispatch equipment, a cost-prohibitive venture, especially for smaller cities.
Mayor Vogle added that (for the first year) a percentage of the incoming money from the cities will be fed back to each city to make cost a little easier for them to handle but that is just for the first year.
With a tone of sympathy for the cities, Vogle said; “We’ve kicked the can too long. At one time the numbers were probably not that big but when you get hit with a sticker price after 15 years it’s bad, it’s bad.”