NORTH ROYALTON – City Council has renewed North Royalton’s agreement with the Southwest Emergency Dispatch Center after reviewing it in a recent Safety Committee meeting.
After every full year of operation, Strongsville’s partner communities – North Royalton, Berea and Olmsted Falls – each review and renew participation in the regional dispatch. Strongsville operates the dispatch, and Strongsville City Council reviews its own participation and management as part of its annual budget.
This year, North Royalton had yet another proposed increase to its share of the cost of services, something Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw, safety chair, wanted to take a look at before moving forward with the renewal.
The topic was discussed during the Feb. 20 safety meeting.
Royalton’s share is increasing from $504,184 in 2017 to $534,435 for 2018.
North Royalton Safety Director Bruce Campbell, who serves on the Dispatch Advisory Committee, said the arrangement is working out well and the increase is simply an attempt to better align costs among the four communities, as it was discovered early last year that Strongsville was shouldering too much of the costs relative to the workload each city generated.
In 2017, the call volume for all four communities was 95,395 total. Of that, 43 percent was Strongsville calls, 27 percent North Royalton, 18 percent Berea and 11 percent Olmsted Falls.
Last year North Royalton, as well as Berea, began paying more with a cap of 7 percent to begin aligning dispatch fees over time. This year’s cap is 6 percent. Strongsville’s share in 2018 will be $1.5 million, Royalton $534,435, Berea $351,602 and Olmsted Falls $245,428.
“The reason it is going up is we are getting closer to paying our share of what we use. Strongsville was paying more and now we are trying to even it out, so it should eventually balance out. This has been a work in progress to make this better for all the cities involved. The training and technology keep advancing to provide us even better service. We are getting a good service for our dollar,” Campbell said.
Langshaw said it was a prudent time to take stock of the program, and that he is pleased at what he heard.
“Based on feedback from our safety director, police chief and fire chief, it’s clear the city is getting a good deal, saving taxpayer dollars, and most importantly has improved public safety for our residents,” he said, after the meeting.
Council President Larry Antoskiewicz, who chairs the Finance Committee, said he didn’t believe the cost increase was out of line, but it is something council will continue to monitor.
“If we were still doing dispatch by ourselves, that cost would also have continued to go up. I still believe it has been cost effective … one of the issues we had was to try to keep up with technology advances, which becomes expensive, and when sharing that cost over several communities, it becomes more practical,” he said, afterward.
North Royalton was the final city to renew, so there are now current agreements with all partners.
“We are excited to have all our partner cities renew and look forward to continuing to provide the highest level of service and support for this critical aspect of public safety. Each city, including North Royalton, brings valuable suggestions and ideas that drive us to persistently improve our technology and service delivery. We strive to provide the most innovative and reliable technology platform for all our partner cities,” said David Sems, Strongsville’s director of communications and technology.