Friday, August 26, 2011
It is once again time for the cities and county to exchange bills for public services paid for with taxpayer dollars. Back in the lat 1990's dispatch services for Canyon County and Caldwell were combined to save the taxpayers money when Caldwell built the new police building. It was a great idea and clear demonstration of cooperation between Sheriff George Nourse and Caldwell Chief of Police Bob Sobba. Caldwell handed over all the 911 fees attached to phone lines and cell phones to the Sheriff. Now we have the county handing a bill over to the city of Caldwell for $475k to pay for dispatch services. Meanwhile the Commissioners are looking at pay raises for county employees to be paid for with taxpayer dollars.
Nampa is out there all alone with their own dispatch services and threatened to sue the county over their fair share of 911 fees generated from telephone lines and cell phones. County officials agreed to let Nampa have $800k in 911 phone fees to stop the law suit threats over this revenue stream. Nampa has assumed a very circumspect attitude toward the County over the years and combining services of any kind for any reason is not well received based on perceived poor treatment in the past. (They withdrew from the Animal Control program due to the bills they refused to pay generated by the County Sheriff as just one example.)
The reality is taxpayers only need to fund one dispatch center for the entire county and cities. It would save taxpayers a wad of cash if cooler heads and logic prevailed. Case in point...Idaho State Police are dispatched statewide from their Meridian, Idaho headquarters. Yup...every ISP car gets dispatched from Meridian. Pretty slick deal and it saves taxpayers a bundle. THE GUARDIAN would like to know why we need more than one dispatch center for all of Canyon County?
It seems unreasonable for the Sheriff to bill the City of Caldwell for dispatch services given all the cash handed over to the Sheriff via the 911 fees that are generated from Caldwell phone lines and cell phones. Canyon County dispatch center is a "sunk cost" and will cost the Sheriff and County more if Caldwell bails out on the current partnership. In the event the Sheriff and Caldwell can't work it out, it makes more sense for Caldwell to partner with Nampa for dispatch services. Caldwell and Nampa combine resources with a Metro dispatch plan and leave the County and small town dispatching to the Sheriff.
Nobody seems to be looking out for the taxpayers who ultimately pay the bills for this service. If ISP can dispatch statewide from Meridian, then why can't taxpayers get a break from the Sheriff on this deal. It just seems ridiculous with this bickering and billing letters going back and forth between the County and Caldwell.
Posted by Paul Alldredge at 2:25 PM