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OFFICIALS PONDER CONSOLIDATION OF 911 DISPATCHING

The Chautauqua County Legislature tonight will consider a resolution to consolidate 911 emergency dispatch services throughout the county.

Jamestown, Dunkirk and Fredonia currently do their own 911 dispatching, while all other calls go through the Sheriff's Department in Mayville.

But Jamestown has asked the county to handle its emergency dispatching.

The resolution for the Legislature's meeting states that the legislature supports the proposal that all emergency dispatch services be consolidated.

If approved, that gives the three municipalities a "window of opportunity" to participate, according to Michael Bobseine, D-Fredonia, chairman of the Legislature.

In a meeting Tuesday afternoon, he told county, city and village officials there are four options:

Do nothing.

Build a dispatch center separate from the current facility in Mayville.

Keep the dispatch centers where they are and have the county pay Jamestown, Fredonia and Dunkirk for dispatch services.

Attempt to consolidate dispatch operations using current facilities and expand the services and update the equipment.

The Legislature's Finance and Judicial and Public Safety committees, in a joint meeting last week, approved a consolidation plan. If the full Legislature approves consolidation, implementing it would require negotiations with the two cities and Fredonia, Bobseine added.

Legislator Chester Tarnowski, D-Dunkirk, said Sheriff Joseph Gerace Jr. prefers consolidation and moving the center to Mayville. He had a letter from the Chautauqua Business Council also endorsing consolidation as a cost-saving measure.

Legislator Keith Ahlstrom, D-Dunkirk, a city firefighter, said the county also needs to upgrade the communications system at a cost of $10 million to $15 million.

Under the plan, Jamestown would pay $200,000 the first year, $150,000 the second year, and $100,000 the third year, with no further contribution after that.

If Dunkirk or Fredonia were interested, their payments would need to be calculated, Bobseine said.

Fredonia Deputy Mayor Susanne Marsh said the Village Board wants concrete figures before it makes a decision. Dunkirk Mayor Robert Kesicki and city Fiscal Affairs Officer Terrence Valentine also want more information.

Also at the meeting in City Hall were County Executive Mark Thomas; County Legislators Ronald Szot, D-Dunkirk, Francis Lus, D-Brocton, Sallie Pullano, D-Fredonia and Alvin Crowe, R-Silver Creek; John Dillenburg, clerk of the Legislature; Fredonia Trustees Patrick Damore and Michael Sullivan; and Dunkirk Councilman-at-Large Norman Nalepa.

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