Towns in Chittenden County are hoping to improve how fast emergency services respond to calls by pooling resources for dispatching those services.An item on seven town meeting ballots would set the stage for the creation of one consolidated center to handle 911 calls from member towns.A non-binding ballot item in Burlington this Town Meeting Day would advise the City Council to request that F-35 fighter jets not be based at Burlington International Airport — but the Vermont Air National Guard says they're still getting ready for the arrival of the aircraft.
“The next steps will be those operational components. Before a dispatcher ever pushes a button to transmit a call for service, there's a lot of work to do from where we are today to that point," Locke said.
For this plan to work, Locke said the dispatchers need to be involved.
Or, do they add costs and inefficiencies that could be avoided by consolidating?
Logie is among a growing chorus of community leaders who argue for consolidation.
They cite a lack of operational details about the center as a reason why they don’t support the plan.
“We have a lot of concerns,” said Kathryn Clark, a dispatcher in Burlington and the union steward for the union that represents the city's dispatchers.Trimming 5 percent of their costs by consolidating would save million, he argues.In January, Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell made local government consolidation the keynote of his State of the City Speech.The union is concerned about maintaining jobs but the chief concern is that the time savings being touted won't be as much as proponents say."We're also worried about the fact that we haven't been shown any sort of operational plan,” Clark said.“I heard someone make the analogy: the city seems to be asking for the citizens to approve a business loan, without having a business plan.” "It's a lot of unknowns, and it's scary to me.