Joining a proposed regional dispatch center may be too costly for Northwood.
A study was conducted to determine the feasibility of a regional dispatch center for Northwood, Lake Township, Rossford and Walbridge.
“The study showed feasibility costs, and what would be necessary to establish and join a regional dispatch site,” said Northwood Administrator Bob Anderson. “It came down to two existing sites: The old Ohio Highway Patrol site on Lemoyne Road in Lake Township, or Northwood’s dispatch center, which is in our police department on Wales Road.”
Poggemeyer Design Group has conducted a cost benefit analysis for the Lake Township site, and planned on doing the same at the Northwood site last Thursday, said Anderson.
“Which site will be the most cost effective, and which one will we get the most benefit out of? Once we get that report from the Northwood site, we’ll see where it goes from there.”
A combined emergency dispatch center, some believe, would streamline information and improve emergency response times.
A committee consisting of representatives of those communities has met monthly to discuss the proposal.
“I think we all want to do it,” said Anderson. “But so far, from the figures I’ve seen, it’s going to cost Northwood more money to join a regional dispatch center compared to what we’re doing now.”
Preliminary figures show it would cost Northwood substantially more, he said.
“That would be a hard sell to city council. I don’t want to recommend we join with the other communities if it’s going to cost us $100,000 more per year. It probably is not going to fly.”
The Lake Township site would have to be remodeled, and more staff would have to be hired, he said.
“If we’re doing it together, you’d think it would cost less. But after looking at preliminary figures, it looks like it’s going to cost Northwood more. Our existing dispatch in Northwood operates pretty efficiently. We’d almost have to start all over again.”
Once the site analysis is completed, Northwood will have a better idea of whether it is feasible to join, he said.
“Right now, we’re still in the study phase and looking at costs. If we can save money and provide the service, maybe even improve the services for residents - that would be great.”
The establishment of a council of governments is also part of the proposal, he said. It would include representatives from each community to run the facility.
“The center wouldn’t be under any particular jurisdiction. We talked about that just briefly how we would set it up. Everyone would be represented somehow. It’s not even in draft form yet. I think all of us think it’s a good idea. But we need to get the details together and make it financially doable. We have high hopes, but we’re just not sure yet,” he said.