Greene County eyeing changes to funding for 911 call center

Greene County communities could see changes in how they contribute funding to the county’s central dispatch, the service that answers local 911 calls.

The Xenia-Greene Central Communications Center answers 911 calls for anywhere in Greene County except in the cities of Beavercreek and Fairborn and the village of Yellow Springs, which have their own dispatch centers. The center, which employs 20 dispatchers and two administrators, patches calls through to 22 different agencies from four primary dispatch stations and one 911 call-taking station.

The center’s annual budget in 2021 was about $2.1 million. Greene County and the city of Xenia equally split the vast majority of the costs, which are between $800,000-$900,000 annually. Behind calls for the sheriff and Xenia Police, the highest call volumes are for police departments at Central State University, Wilberforce University, Cedarville, Jamestown, and the Miami Twp. and Xenia Twp. fire departments.

“Essentially the county and the city are subsidizing dispatch services. So we’re looking to move to a more equitable sharing of the expenses related to dispatch,” County Administrator Brandon Huddleson said. “The other jurisdictions that are getting the service, rightfully so, ought to be paying the true cost of the service, and their cost just hasn’t been updated in quite a while.”

The last time charges for dispatch services were updated was in 2008, the only update since the service was established in 1992, Huddleson said, adding that he hoped to negotiate inflationary increases with smaller jurisdictions, in order to avoid “these same surprises every 15 years.”

Jamestown Mayor Josh Bradley said that their dispatch funds come from a few police levies, but mostly the money comes from the general fund.

“It makes it a lot easier on us, the smaller community that we are,” Bradley said.

City and county officials are also evaluating options to add two additional supervisor positions, as currently the center director is the only operational manager, and extended periods of time may go by without an on-site supervisor, Merriman said, adding that another priority is ensuring the center has enough tech support staff.

“Our center performs at a very high level, with increasing call service demand, and yet it is one of the lowest cost-per-call operations in the region,” Xenia City Manager Brent Merriman said. “We are always seeking ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs while sustaining excellent services.”

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