Dade City to consolidate dispatch with sheriff's office
Dade City plans to consolidate its dispatch center with the Pasco sheriff's office. At Tuesday's commission meeting, Dade City commissioners authorized police Chief Ray Velboom to begin working out details for the consolidation. Velboom told commissioners a centralized call taking and dispatching facility would "increase our ability to provide effective and efficient constituent and public safety services." "It's been a long time coming and I think this is the right thing," Velboom said.He said that without the consolidation, the city would have to spend about $268,825 to update aging equipment. Participation in the service will be about $100,000 the first year and after that about $91,000 annually. The partnership will close down the dispatch system in Dade City, affecting eight employees, according to city officials. Dispatch center employees will be given an opportunity to stay with the city or be employed with the county at equal or greater salaries and similar benefits and maintain seniority, according to the city. The sheriff's office has also offered a similar consolidation deal to other cities. All agencies would have access to a shared records management system. Dade City is the first municipality to sign on to the partnership. Zephyrhills officials have not shown interest in the partnership, saying the city's dispatch equipment is in good condition. City Council president Lance Smith has asked for a workshop on the issue. Velboom told commissioners that the city will find itself being dictated to by the county since the center will be run by a Consolidated Communications Board. He said he will be sitting on the board to watch out for the city's interests. "We're up front and in the driver's seat," he said. Commissioner James Shive was not convinced that the city should pursue the plan, saying there were "projected unknowns" that worried him. Dade City Mayor Camille Hernandez said that she understood Shive's concerns, but she was confident that any unknown issues would be worked out satisfactorily. "We could be the biggest fools or the biggest trailblazers," she said.