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Towns approve central dispatch

Local officials express reservations with support for consolidation plan

— Niskayuna Councilwoman Julie McDonnell echoed Koetzle and said she was glad the committee was given more power over operations.

“The town oversight … will give us the assurance that we need to make sure that we maintain the excellent services that we have here and that our residents expect,” McDonnell said.

The oversight committee will also reassess the cost sharing models after operating for four years, which Glenville pushed for because town officials still are unsure its contribution is proportionally fair.

The central dispatch is hoped to be operational by January 2014, according to Koetzle.

Glenville Councilwoman Gina Wierzbowski said the notion the town was holding out for its own interest is somewhat misguided.

“I do believe deep down we had everyone’s best interests at heart,” Wierzbowski said. “We were the only one asking for changes and I believe that every municipality that enters into this agreement will now benefit from the things we asked to be changed.”

Wierzbowski said it would have been “irresponsible” for the board to approve the agreement presented two years ago.

Board member Sid Ramotar said the original proposal “made sense,” but just not for Glenville.

“I think we held out for the right reasons,” Ramotar. “Now, it does make a lot more sense.”

The plan is said to save Schenectady $195,000, Glenville more than $160,000, Niskayuna around $115,000 and Rotterdam nearly $160,000. The towns of Duanesburg and Princetown would pay a flat fee that increases annually for the first four years.

The cost sharing percentage would remain flat among Schenectady (46.91 percent), Glenville (19.74 percent), Niskayuna (14.16 percent) and Rotterdam (19.19 percent) for the first four years. Upon the fifth year, the cost sharing would be reevaluated based on figures from the first four years.

Schenectady County Legislator Anthony Jasenski, D-Rotterdam, said the plan would increase safety countywide because using one dispatch center allows for information to be known by all parties in an emergency situation.

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