SCHENECTADY COUNTY For more than 20 years, local officials have sought to implement a central dispatch for Schenectady County, and it appears they won’t have to wait much longer.
The Schenectady County Legislature on Tuesday, July 10, unanimously approved entering into an agreement establishing a centralized dispatch system, which would house all dispatchers in one building at an undetermined location. The Schenectady City Council already approved the new plan, so the towns of Glenville, Niskayuna, Rotterdam, Duanesburg and Princetown would need to approve it, too.
Plotterkill Fire Department Chief and County Fire Advisory Board Chairman John Tobiassen was pleased to see the agreement progressing after years of discussing it.
“This has been a long time coming,” Tobiassen said. “It has been really difficult to come to the consensus that you have reached tonight.”
During Tropical Storm Irene, he said a dispatch system became overwhelmed with phone calls. He said the current localized dispatch system couldn’t handle the calls but a central dispatch would eliminate the problem.
“I’m hoping that each subsequent municipality will become part of this program,” Tobiassen said. “This is the way that it needs to happen. It is a matter of public safety.”
The approved plan does provide for two different scenarios — with or without Glenville.
Glenville’s current Republican administration has sparred with county officials over the terms of the agreement in recent years, claiming the town would bear an unfair amount of the cost and questioning projected unguaranteed savings. Last August, county officials said the central dispatch plan was moving forward without Glenville.
The county and Glenville, though, appear to have reached an agreement after concessions were made by both sides.
“I think the county has addressed many of our concerns; not all, but many,” Glenville Supervisor Christopher Koetzle said. “I am ready at this point to endorse the proposal. … It is time to go forward as a county to make the best system possible.”