Sylvania Township trustees have voted in favor of a consolidation plan for all 911 dispatching services in Lucas County.
The 2-1 vote makes it likely that the proposal from the county commissioners will go into effect and will result in the end of the current six dispatching centers, including Sylvania Township, in the county.
Chairman John Crandall, who cast the dissenting vote, said that he generally favors consolidation, but thinks the restructuring of the system should involve two centers as opposed to the current proposal of one center for the county.
Trustees also voted for John Jennewine to be the township representative to the 911 planning committee.
In addition to Mr. Jennewine, as representative of the county’s largest township, there will be a representative from Toledo, the largest city, and a representative from the county commissioners. There also will be one for all of the other townships in the county and one representing all other municipalities.
The final determination on consolidation will come from a vote of that five-member board.
Although only a few other governmental bodies have made a decision, Toledo and Lucas County have indicated they favor the change and now with Sylvania Township’s vote, the change seems set.
The planning committee will have about 18 months to determine the exact shape of the new county-wide dispatching service and put it into effect.
That structure was one of the reasons Neal Mahoney, trustee, gave as a reason for his vote in favor.
He said he recently went to a meeting of township dispatchers and that he recognizes that this will be a disruption for them. Nevertheless, it is happening in many Ohio agencies and in the current situation, Sylvania Township, “will have a seat at the table,” when decisions are made about the service.
Mr. Jennewine added that changes in the future in terms of dispatching will likely involve technology and that will involve a greater expense. He added that it could pose a problem for the township, particularly if it continues to lose tax revenue through annexation efforts by the City of Sylvania.
Prior to the vote, a number of people spoke against consolidation citing the large call volume dispatchers will face and the loss of community knowledge which local dispatchers have. It was also suggested that a large disaster would flood the single dispatching center with calls and others with localized emergencies wouldn’t be able to reach a dispatcher.
In response to that issue, Mr. Jennewine asked what would happen to Sylvania Township dispatchers if that large disaster occurred locally, suggesting that the larger complement of dispatchers at a single location would be more able to handle a major disaster.
James Crosby, a candidate for trustee, said he was leery about why the issue of consolidation was, “on a fast track, for whatever reason.”
In their remarks, trustees praised the work of dispatchers as well as all members of the police and fire departments.
It has been stressed that no currently-employed dispatchers will lose their jobs.
Proponents of a county-wide dispatch center argue that is will be more efficient and less expensive. It also has been noted that this will be an independent agency and not under the county commissioners.
Written by: Mike Jones, Public Information Officer
Posted: October 8, 2019
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