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Deadline set for County-City dispatch, lease agreements

City and County officials met Monday, March 26, to continue negotiations on a contract for city dispatch services and the lease for Fredericktown Police Headquarters, located in the Madison County Jail on North Main Street.

Failure to reach an agreement could cause a disruption in city services.

The service contract for dispatch between the City of Fredericktown and Madison County expired, leaving the two without a formal agreement. For several years the City was charged $60,000 per year for services. The County commission is proposing a new rate of $69,000. The City has not agreed to the proposal at this time.

“I think $69,000 is a very fair price for the city based on the number of calls,” said Robert Mooney, Presiding Madison County Commissioner. “In 2010 the county put in $120,000 for dispatching services compared to the city’s $60,000. The city has been getting a good deal for a number of years.”

The City is seeking a compromise on the service price. The addition of a Computer Assisted Dispatch system is also on the table, as is additional training for dispatch personnel.

The complete cost to the county for dispatch services in 2011 was $297,169, the bulk of which was paid toward employee salaries in the amount of $174,493. This figure also represents equipment replacement in the amount of $14,673 which was reimbursed by the insurance provider.

Dispatch received 5,683 calls to 911, 16,762 county administrative calls and 17,222 city administrative calls in 2011.   

The lease agreement for office space at Police Headquarters has also expired. In Monday’s meeting the County Commission set a deadline of May 1 for the entities to come to an agreement or the City will have to leave the premises. The City currently pays $1,000 a month for the office space it shares with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department.

“I feel the County has been very fair,” said Larry Mungle, District II Commisisoner. “I mean you can’t even find a decent apartment for $550 a month. We feel we are being very reasonable.”

Madison County Sheriff David Lewis and Fredericktown Police Captain Eric Hovis agree a compromise needs to be reached in the interest of public safety.

“My biggest concern is public safety,” sad Sheriff Lewis. “There are a lot of things that are not being taken into consideration here.  The departments have worked very well together for a number of years and I hate to see this broken up.”

“I think an agreement will be made soon,” said Captain Hovis. “The Department will continue to serve the citizens of Fredericktown with integrity and dedication during these negotiations. We have always had a good relationship with the County and I don’t foresee it coming to an end.”

The issues have not appeared on the City Council Agenda.

The Fredericktown City Council meeting scheduled for March 26 was canceled. Not enough Aldermen could be present to form a quorum.

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