County announces consolidation effort

Cohoes and Watervliet to transfer 911 answering duties to the county

County Executive Dan McCoy announced a consolidation effort regarding 911 answering services on Tuesday, March 27.

County Executive Dan McCoy announced a consolidation effort regarding 911 answering services on Tuesday, March 27. Submitted Photo

— “That’s a pretty big savings (for those municipalities),” said Rozak. “At this point we are able to absorb that cost so at this point it isn’t having a financial impact.”

The county extended the consolidation offer to all 19 municipalities and is poised to announce additional partners in the “near future.” Rozak said some towns or cities haven’t yet warmed to the idea of consolidation.

“Often there’s some hesitation because … there is sometimes a mindset that says you want local people and there must be a benefit to having local people right there,” said Rozak.

Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said the consolidation effort is a beneficial move.

“Our goal is to provide a high level of efficiency when answering and dispatching 911 calls while easing the burden on the county taxpayers. The transfer of function to the county will save time and money while not jeopardizing public safety,” said Apple.

Once more communities merge into the consolidation, Rozak said the county could potentially see additional expenses, but it would cross that bridge when the time comes.

“When you have more people contributing to one bill it’s not going to cost anything more right now, but should we have to beef up and it costs more in the future, you’re spreading out the amount of money that needs to be divided between participating communities,” said Rozak.

Colonie Police Chief Steve Heider said the town is currently “excluded” from the consolidation but conversations have been had with the county and are ongoing.

“We’re open to any negotiation with the county. We’ve cooperated with their study to date,” said Heider. “I think they’re trying to get some of the smaller towns and we haven’t had those serious discussions yet but I think some new things are coming up.”

Bethlehem Town Supervisor John Clarkson said the town is “looking at it” and has created an internal group made up of police IT staff and a budget advisory team to look at the possibility of consolidation.

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