As of March 8, at 7 a.m., Pleasant Grove will no longer have working dispatch in their public safety building. At that time, which happens to be a regular shift change, the switch will be made to Central 911, a special service district that will take over dispatch services for the city. Twenty-one other entities also contract with Central 911, which is located in Spanish Fork.
On March 2, Pleasant Grove’s city council voted unanimously to approve the agreement between Central 911 and the city. This came after months of investigating whether the move would be financially beneficial, according to Scott Darrington, city administrator. He stressed that the change is due to financial considerations and not because there were problems with the service that the city’s dispatchers provided.
Central 911 has a buy-in cost to join their agency, which is $354,900. According to Darrington, Pleasant Grove City won’t expend any cash at this point because the city is receiving credit for equipment that Central 911 will take, such as radios and consoles. The credit for that equipment is $189,900. “They will also be leasing the former dispatch space in our building at $18,000 a year for five years for a total credit of $90,000,” he said.
The remaining balance of $75,000 will be settled in five years when Central 911 gives the city credit for the future value of some radios that they are obtaining. “There will also be a discussion in five years on whether we need our space back or if they’ll continue to use our facility,” Darrington said. “If they continue to lease our facility after five years, we’ll receive more credit towards the buy-in cost.”
The space that will be leased is part of the city’s new public safety building, which was recently constructed and opened last year. About 600 square feet of it has been used for dispatch and will now be leased for backup space for Central 911, according to Darrington. “They won’t be dispatching out of there on a 24/7 basis,” he said.
Darrington said that the cost to be part of Central 911 will be about $297,000 per year. That would mean an annual savings of about $145,000 for the city.
Part of the agreement with Central 911 is that the city’s dispatchers would be offered employment. According to Darrington, most of the 12 employees have chosen to make the move, while one dispatcher will stay employed with the city to handle non-emergency public safety calls. “Pleasant Grove dispatchers will need to learn new cities and their current dispatchers will need to learn Pleasant Grove,” Darrington said.
However, no differences in response time to emergencies are expected. “For me, the most important thing is that our citizens are taken care of,” said Dianna Andersen, city councilmember.