Centerville, West Carrollton near deal to share police, fire dispatch

Negotiations on a five-year contract for West Carrollton to have its police and fire calls handled by Centerville’s dispatch center are expected to be done this week.

Officials from both cities said the two sides agree on major points in the deal. It is expected to go before West Carrollton’s city’s council by the end of this month before being addressed by Centerville’s council.

“The vast majority of the contract and the contract language has been agreed upon,” West Carrollton Police Chief Doug Woodard. “There are just a few things that we’re trying to tweak to satisfy both jurisdictions.”

West Carrollton officials said staff shortages, rising costs and losses in tax revenues have made it too expensive for them to maintain an emergency dispatch center.

City Manager Brad Townsend has said contracting with Centerville will save West Carrollton about $300,000 a year and that residents should receive the same level of service. Calls to Centerville are dispatched in fewer than 10 seconds and response times are within three minutes, said Centerville Police Chief Bruce Robertson.

West Carrollton also considered a proposal from the Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center, which contracts with multiple jurisdictions. But officials said the plan by Centerville, which does not contract with any other entity, is more economical and a better fit.

“They have a pay structure that allows us to have some fixed numbers to work with,” Woodard said. “It’s not based on the number of calls we have per year. That’s one of the biggest differences between Centerville and the regional dispatch center. If we have a busy year we can end up having to pay more because the county charges based on calls per service.”

Both cities said the contract will call for West Carrollton to pay a flat rate of about $248,000 for the first year, with a 2 percent annual increase to top off at about $285,000 in the fifth year.

The deal will offer the potential for Centerville to absorb West Carrollton’s three dispatchers. If the contract is approved, Centerville will need four full-time dispatchers to handle the increased volume, Robertson said.

“To bring their current dispatchers on board would be helpful for both cities,” he said, noting that West Carrollton’s dispatchers would have to meet Centerville’s employee requirements.

“So we can’t make any promises. But it’s our intent because it would serve both entities well to bring on any of their dispatchers who meet those requirements,” he said.

Seven people work at the Centerville dispatch center. Its operation includes five dispatchers handling more than 36,000 calls a year, Lt. Matt Brown has said.

West Carrollton’s dispatch center averages about 25,000 to 30,000 annual calls for the police and about 2,200 for fire each year, city officials have said.

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