Truckee, county governments to consider consolidating emergency dispatch services | SierraSun.com

Truckee, county governments to consider consolidating emergency dispatch services

Michelle Rindels
Sun News Service

GRASS VALLEY, Calif. and#8212; County and city government leaders are considering consolidating their emergency dispatch services as a way to cut costs.

Nevada City and Truckee contract with the Nevada County Sheriff for dispatch services, while Grass Valley maintains its own operation. Combined, the four entities spend more than $3.1 million annually in dispatch services.

The idea came out of a joint meeting last week focusing on saving money by sharing resources. Together, the three cities and county had a $600,000 deficit in fiscal year 2008-09.

and#8220;The goal is to take the ideas as we prepare budgets and incorporate them into the budget effective July 1,and#8221; said Nevada County Chief Executive Officer Rick Haffey.

City and county leaders are now prioritizing the ideas and will consider their feasibility.

Grass Valley Police Chief John Foster recently attended a workshop to look closer at consolidating his departmentand#8217;s 24-hour, five-employee dispatching operation and said there are pros and cons, especially since the initial process of can be costly.

and#8220;With the issue of consolidation, if youand#8217;re going into it just … to save money, then thatand#8217;s the wrong reason,and#8221; he said. and#8220;You need to look at it and ask if itand#8217;s a better way to provide the service. You donand#8217;t want to lower customer service.and#8221;

Trimming law enforcement costs countywide was a top priority, since those costs account for 40 percent of the combined $100 million in annual spending.

Leaders also considered other measures, such as regionalizing animal control services and collaborating on grant writing projects.

Also on the list was an effort to build a joint maintenance yard to store public works vehicles. Nevada County purchased land in August for the proposed project and may share the space with the City of Grass Valley.

Though the joint meeting was the first one focused on sharing resources to ease budget crunches, leaders have been meeting quarterly for the past three years.

Those meetings and#8212; and the pressures of tumbling tax revenues and#8212; laid the groundwork for the most recent meeting, Haffey said.