Dunwoody’s City Council is mulling over a potential change in its 911 service after hearing a study group’s findings on July 19.
A new city run center, a partnership with Sandy Springs and John’s Creek, and continuing with current provider DeKalb County were the options presented by City Manager Warren Hutmacher at last week’s council meeting.
The deciding factor, it appears, is whether the city is prepared to spend money from its general fund.
A memo on the issue concluded that “if the city’s [current] 911 fee does not provide enough to run [a city-run] center,” maintenance costs would be stripped from the General Fund.
Further clouding this option, the memo goes on to state that, “[the] city bears all financial risks including startup capital investment and future technology refreshes.”
Dunwoody, which was incorporated in 2008, began to examine its emergency services after a wave of residents complained that DeKalb provided inconsistent response rates. Currently, the city pays the county a fee for these services.
The study, started more than a month ago, found that a city-run center would answer 90 percent of emergency calls within 10 seconds and make a dispatch call within 60 seconds.
Another option is to join ChatComm, the 911 center for Sandy Springs and Johns Creek. Again, money is an issue. “Upwa rds of $500,000” would be the fee, according to the memo, but it comes with benefits.
ChatComm has an “established, proven performance standards – answer 90 percent of all calls within 10 seconds and dispatch 90 percent of all calls within 60 seconds,” according to the memo. Furthermore, the open lines of communication would help with policing efforts across the bordering municipalities.
However, he city could renegotiate its current deal with the county. A major concern is the lack of a Dunwoody specific channel and operators, which officials feel disproportionately under-serves the revenue it provides. Should Dunwoody these issues be resolved there’s a strong chance that it will stick with the county.
The current agreement, made when Dunwoody incorporated, lasts until Nov. 30, 2010. A notice period of 180 days must then be given by either party, with the county under no obligation to continue serving Dunwoody thereafter.
No date has yet been set for when the city council will vote on the issue.