21 Aug 2014
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Hopkins Could Switch to County Dispatch Center This Summer

A County Board committee advanced a proposal that would allow Hopkins to close its dispatch center and use county dispatch services instead.

Hopkins Could Switch to County Dispatch Center This Summer

After a setback just a month ago, could be on the fast track to transfer dispatch services to Hennepin County, closing the city’s dispatch center in the process.

In an add-on to the County Board’s Public Safety and Judiciary Committee agenda Tuesday, commissioners voted 5-1 to advance Hopkins’ request to use the county dispatch center.

That approval follows the board’s 6-1 , when commissioners said a decision should wait until after the completion of a 911 study expected in July. Commissioner Jan Callison, who represents Hopkins, was the only commissioner to support the proposal then.

But now Hopkins could drop to just three dispatchers by July 10 because two dispatchers could be headed to jobs elsewhere. Meanwhile, the 911 study will not be available in July as expected.

With those challenges ahead, and the need for pricy upgrades if the city continues using its own dispatch center, Callison took the proposal back to the Public Safety and Judiciary Committee on Tuesday—where commissioners swiftly approved the idea without discussion.

County Board Chairman Mike Opat was the only person to vote against the resolution.

The proposal will be up for formal approval at next week’s regular board meeting. If commissioners sign off on it, Hopkins will pay Hennepin County a one-time set-up fee of $54,000. Hopkins will also give the county its annual 911 state reimbursement, which is worth $24,859 now.

City Manager Mike Mornson said Hopkins could begin using county dispatch services as early as Aug. 1, although the exact timing will be up to the Sheriff’s Office and .

Hopkins first broached the idea of using the county’s dispatch center as a way to save money. It is the smallest community in Hennepin County to have its own dispatch center and pays more per person for dispatch services than any community in the county. Staff estimate Hopkins could save at least $300,000 a year with county dispatch.

 

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