CAPITAL DISTRICT In an effort to provide “higher efficiency” and save taxpayer dollars, Albany County has announced the early results of a multi-year study of possible consolidation of dispatch and emergency services. On Tuesday, March 27, County Executive Dan McCoy announced the City of Watervliet and City of Cohoes would be turning 911 dispatch services over to the county.
“Watervliet and Cohoes residents are winning in two ways: they’ll save money by consolidating dispatch services and get help faster in emergencies by having calls go directly to the county,” said McCoy.
The study was performed through a Local Government Efficiency Grant the county applied for in 2009. Mary Rozak, spokesperson for McCoy, said the study took a look at whether taxpayers were getting “a duplication of services” and how emergency services money was being spent in each municipality.
“Back then it was thought that when 911 was established … if you have a dispatch with local employees they’re best equipped to actually dispatch their own police, fire, EMS because they know the area and they know the people,” said Rozak.
Rozak said the study disproved that theory.
“The study revealed that doesn’t really apply anymore because there is new technology and we have all kinds of advances, better training and teams of people that we call integrated units,” said Rozak.
Watervliet is already online and having 911 calls answered at the county dispatch center in the Village of Voorheesville. There was no loss of personnel because local employees were rolled over on to the county payroll, and Rozak said the city could save between $150,000 and $200,000 for the year.
Cohoes is scheduled to switch service over to the county in a few weeks and could see savings between $400,000 and $650,000, said Rozak, and the county is not seeing any immediate cost increase as a result of consolidation.