Proposal to Cut Hopkins Dispatch Center Moves to County
Commissioners will consider a resolution that would allow the county to negotiate with Hopkins on terms for moving the city to county dispatch.
The County Board on Tuesday kicked off the formal process toward deciding whether to allow Hopkins to transfer dispatch services to the county dispatch center, a move that would allow the city to eliminate its dispatch center.
Staff presented commissioners with a resolution that would authorize county administration to enter into negotiations with Hopkins about the terms and conditions under which it could start using county dispatch services.
On May 15, the resolution will go before committee for discussion, said Commissioner Jan Callison—whose district includes Hopkins and the commissioner who brought the proposal to the county.
The committee will either recommend approval or progress it forward. Callison, who supports the proposal, said she doesn’t yet know how the full board feels about the idea, but she expects to have a sense of that after the committee meeting.
Commissioners will vote on the resolution at their May 22 meeting. If the resolution passes, county administration will begin negotiating with Hopkins with the intention of transferring the city to county dispatch in 2012.
Once they have an agreement, they’ll bring the proposal back to the board for final approval.
Callison said the overall timeline will depend on the complexity of the negotiations.
Local officials suggested eliminating the city’s dispatch center and transferring dispatch services to the county in order to save money. Hopkins is the smallest community in Hennepin County to have its own dispatch center. Consequently, it pays more per person for dispatch services than any other community in the county. Police Chief Mike Reynolds estimated Hopkins could save at least $300,000 a year with county dispatch.
The county’s support is not certain, though. In November 2004, county commissioners approved a resolution barring those who declined county dispatch at the time from joining on for at least eight years.
The proposal has also created apprehension among some Hopkins residents who fear county dispatchers won’t know the community as well as in-house dispatchers.
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