Emergency Call Center originally uploaded by Kecko
According to this StarTribune article, the City of West St. Paul is not pleased with the return on investment provided by the Dakota Communications Center and they want to know why they’re paying nearly double what they were when they operated a similar facility themselves.
From the article:
Four years ago, the Dakota Communications Center (DCC) debuted as a joint effort among Dakota County and its larger cities to consolidate 911 dispatching. It was heralded as a way for cities to save money and handle emergencies more efficiently.
The city of West St. Paul paid more than $564,000 this year in membership fees, which is nearly double what it paid when it had its own dispatch center. Next year, its fees will increase by about $50,000.
However, West St. Paul isn’t the only city paying high fees which appear to only be increasing. West St. Paul is going to be paying about 8% more in 2012 than 2011. That’s the same as Mendota Heights and just under the 10% increase seen by Hastings. Other cities such as Apple Valley, Burnsville and Eagan are seeing a reduction in costs between four and eight percent.
|Inver Grove Heights||548,797||561,066||2%|
|South Saint Paul||493,171||509,558||3%|
|West Saint Paul||564,245||613,335||8%|
With the DCCs budget expanding another 4.6% overall in 2012 and outpacing the costs of similar centers in Anoka and Washington Counties, the article notes that West St. Paul’s city officials are wondering why the center costs as much as it does to operate. According to the article, a budget surplus of over $800,000 was fed into the center’s capital expenditures and not back to the member cities, as West St. Paul believed should have occurred.
While a multitude of DCC operational statistics show that the center is operating well above industry standards, do you think that it costs to much to operate and that cities should go back to doing it themselves? Do you think that the operating fund balance should have been returned to those municipalities paying into the center rather than it being kept for capital expenditures? Are you concerned by the fluctuations in cost year to year (view all the financial data available first) and do you believe that perhaps something should be done to more evenly calculate current and future costs per city? Whatever you have to say about West St. Paul’s issues with the Dakota Communications Center go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.