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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

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Lake Township has been given verbal approval to continue to provide emergency dispatching service for the Village of Walbridge, Mark Hummer, township police chief, said last week.

Village officials had received an offer from Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn for dispatching service for the village police department for approximately $31,000 a year but have indicated they will continue to contract with the township at a cost of $48,500 annually, Chief Hummer said, adding the agreement with the village will be on a month-to-month basis until a contract is signed.

In January, the township trustees renewed a one-year contract with LifeStar for dispatching service that included a 3 percent increase, raising the cost to $21,060 per month.

The company provides 24-hour dispatching service for fire, police, and emergency medical service calls. The service is shared by the township and village and City of Rossford with costs split by the percentage of calls for each.

Last year, Rossford paid $10,185 per month and Walbridge paid $5,267 per month.

The township also maintains the dispatching center at the administration building on Cummings Road.

The township trustees agreed to assume the 3 percent increase rather than pass it on to Walbridge and Rossford but village officials, noting that call volume in the village had declined, pressed for a lower rate for the service.

To counter the offer from the sheriff’s department, the trustees agreed to reduce the village’s monthly charge to $4,041.

Sheriff Wasylyshyn last week said he calculated his bid by basing it on about half of what a dispatcher with five years of experiences is paid in wages and benefits.

He said his department already provides dispatching service for 18 fire departments, 10 police departments, and six ambulance districts.

He said dispatching service is subject to “economies of scale” and there is a trend toward consolidation of the service and more efficiency.

“My pay is set by state law. So it wouldn’t affect what I’m paid,” he said. “But my job is to be sheriff for and offer service for all the citizens of Wood County.”

Chief Hummer described the sheriff’s offer as “artificially low.”

“He wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing,” the chief said. “Lake Township police and Walbridge police work hand in hand. That would be affected if they were dispatched by another agency. We weren’t overcharging Walbridge. It was a fair price for the service they’re receiving.”

When an on-duty Walbridge patrol officer became sick earlier this year, township officers were able to respond to calls for service in the village until a replacement for the officer was in service, he said.

Ron Sims, a township trustee, said the lack of a written agreement with Walbridge won’t affect service for its residents.

“We’re not going to put the citizens of Lake Township, including Walbridge, in jeopardy because of a contract issue,” he said.

Walbridge Mayor Dan Wilczynski couldn’t be reached for comment.

Representatives from several municipalities and townships in northern Wood County have been meeting monthly to discuss the formation of a regional communications system for emergency services.

A regional system will become more feasible as more service providers adopt computer aided dispatch (CAD) systems, Chief Hummer said. He plans to have his department using CAD this year. Police departments in the cities of Northwood and Perrysburg are already using the system.

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