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05-20-2010, 03:21 PM
DATE: May 20, 2010

TO: Mayor and Board of County Commissioners

FROM: Bertha Henry, County Administrator

SUBJECT: Funding Public Safety E911 Dispatch Operations

Background
In the late 1970’s, four (4) Cooperative Dispatch Centers (CDCs) were established in order to implement the 911 emergency system in the County. The County funded all four (4) CDCs which were operated by BSO, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Pompano Beach. Each CDC dispatched for a number of other cities. The County phased out the funding for the CDCs operated by the three (3) cities and continued funding only for the CDC operated by BSO (BSO dispatch center). BSO continued to dispatch for a number of cities. Over the years, several additional cities were added to the BSO dispatch center and a number of cities dropped out of the CDCs to establish their own public safety answering point (PSAP).

In 1995, the County entered into interlocal agreements (ILAs) with Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach. Each ILA addressed a number of disparate issues such as the expansion of North Broward detention facilities, funding for the homeless shelter and a number of other issues. Each ILA, limited by specific time frames, also included a provision for the County to fund dispatch services. The intent at the time was to work towards a common public safety communications system.

In 2002, the County Charter was amended and gave the County the responsibility to fund public safety communications infrastructure (not staff). This met the objective of a common public safety communications system and closest unit response (common CAD system); and the County did not pursue centralizing dispatch services.

The ILA between Fort Lauderdale and the County expired in 2000; however, BSO continued to provide police dispatch services under an ILA between BSO and the City with County funding. The cost to provide dispatch services to the City is approximately $5.7 million per year. The Pompano Beach ILA expires on September 30, 2010, and staff has notified the City that payments ($2.5 million per year) for dispatch services will cease at that time. This has become an issue between the City of Pompano Beach and BSO in relation to their proposed agreement for law enforcement services.

Currently, there are ten (10) primary PSAP’s and two (2) secondary PSAP’s and one (1) backup PSAP in the County. BSO dispatches police calls for twenty-three (23) cities. Fourteen (14) of these cities are contract cities. BSO does not dispatch police calls for the following cities: Coral Springs, Margate, Coconut Creek, Sunrise, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, Plantation and Hillsboro Beach. Currently BSO dispatches fire rescue calls for seventeen (17) cities. Seven (7) of the cities are BSO contract cities. BSO does not dispatch fire rescue calls for the following cities: Coral Springs, Margate, Coconut Creek, Sunrise, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Hillsboro Beach, Dania Beach, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Lazy Lakes, Wilton Manors and Miramar. State Statutes do not address who has the responsibility to pay for dispatching services. What is clear is that police, fire and emergency dispatch are tied to the delivery of those services. While it can be argued that the current system is not “fair” since some cities pay for their own dispatching, the County’s actions are permissible as long as it is prepared to provide the service to all cities that ask. Given the County’s budget situation, this is not an option.

Current Situation

As mentioned above, the County’s ILA with the City of Pompano Beach will expire at the end of this fiscal year and payments for dispatch services will cease. While the City has been aware for several years that the ILA will expire and the County will no longer fund dispatch services, the recent turnovers in city managers delayed the City’s attention to the matter. The City has asked the County and BSO to continue to provide the City with dispatch service at no cost. In addition, the City of Hollywood has informed BSO that it wants the County to pay for the City’s dispatch operations and other cities may soon follow. The County cannot afford to assume these additional costs.

Given the fact that the County can no longer afford to assume the costs of dispatch services for additional cities, the County has only two (2) choices:

Option 1 - Charge all entities which elect to be dispatched by BSO; or

Option 2 - Work to develop a more efficient dispatch system for emergency calls, which could include, but not be limited to, a consolidation of centers, pro rata assessments based on call volume, etc.

I raised this issue at a recent meeting of the Broward City/County Manager Association (BCCMA) and encouraged the group to study the issue and develop a new operations model. Staff expects the BCCMA to place the item on their next agenda and establish a working group. BSO staff has evaluated the issue and concluded that a more cost effective fee based model is feasible – subject to a “buy in” from municipalities.

If efforts fail to develop a regional dispatch system, the County would fund BSO to cover the cost of dispatching for the unincorporated areas and regional services.

Please let me know if you would like a more detailed briefing on this issue.

cc: Pamela Madison, Interim Deputy County Administrator
Pete Corwin, Assistant to the County Administrator
Kayla Olsen, Director, Office of Management and Budget
Evan Lukic, County Auditor
Jeffrey Newton, County Attorney
Director John Curry, Broward Sheriff’s Office

05-20-2010, 03:37 PM
Broward ends subsidies for emergency dispatch amid budget crisis

> Posted by Scott Wyman on May 20, 2010 09:00 AM
The free ride is over.

Broward County is done paying to handle 911 calls in Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach. It’s telling the two cities to pay the $8.2 million expense. And it may do the same in other cities, too.

County officials argue they can no longer afford to cover the emergency dispatch costs. It’s facing a $100 million budget shortfall. City leaders are scrambling about what to do because they too are facing deficits because of declining property values.

At stake is how 911 calls are handled. Sheriff Al Lamberti is warning that the county’s move threatens to disintegrate a unified dispatch system and harm emergency responders’ ability to react quickly to calls for help.

“This is a huge public safety issue, and the vision should be one countywide communications system that everyone can participate in,” Lamberti said. “I think we are going in the wrong direction.”

The county has notified Pompano Beach that it will no longer pay $2.5 million a year for the city’s emergency dispatch. And, Lamberti said that at the behest of the county, he is not negotiating a new contract with Fort Lauderdale to run its dispatch. Fort Lauderdale dispatch costs the county about $5.7 million a year. Click here to read the memo from the county.


County commissioners said this week that they believe taxpayers countywide are subsidizing dispatch services in 23 of the county’s 31 cities and want that to end. They said they know there’s a gap between what the sheriff brings in with E911 fees on telephone service and the cost to provide dispatch services.


“We have a deficit and aren’t raising taxes so we don’t have the money and clearly can’t continue doing what we’ve been doing in the past,” Broward Mayor Ken Keechl said.

The county began dispatching for cities in the late 1970s to start the 911 emergency system in Broward, and cities have moved in and out of the county system ever since. County budget analysts estimate the total cost of dispatch is about $27 million, including unincorporated Broward and regional services.

County Administrator Bertha Henry said in a memo to commissioners that Broward must act because the city of Hollywood has asked to join the county system at no cost. As long as the county pays for dispatch in some cities, state law requires it to provide the same deal to any other community that wants it.

The move has caught city officials by surprise. In Pompano, it’s become a stumbling block in city discussions with the Sheriff’s Office over a new contract to provide law enforcement protection. Those talks have dragged out for 16 months.

A 1993 deal with Pompano to accommodate the expansion of the North Broward Detention Center set the stage for the current subsidies there. That agreement included language about development of a regional communications system “financially supported by the county.”

“It should continue to be paid by Broward County,” Pompano Beach City Manager Dennis Beach said. “The county set out many years ago to create a countywide communication system.”

Fort Lauderdale officials said this week that they are uncertain how they will proceed, but may try to form a new dispatch operation with neighboring communities. The city was already facing a budget shortfall of up to $44 million this year.

Mayor Jack Seiler warns that the city might scrutinize whether residents are being double-taxed by the county for services. County auditors alleged a year ago that taxpayers in cities with their own police and fire protection were subsidizing communities that contract with the Sheriff’s Office.

“We need to look at all our options,” Seiler said. “My big concern is that I think we subsidize law enforcement and fire protection in BSO communities. We pay a tremendous amount of taxes to Broward County, and they are not recouping their full cost from the cities that have contracts. It wasn’t a big deal when they bore the cost of dispatch, but now it is.”

09-06-2011, 12:39 AM
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09-06-2011, 04:18 AM
Lamberti said. “I think we are going in the wrong direction.”



Just like you Lameberti, just like you!

09-06-2011, 03:08 PM
Cliche: When seconds count, help is minutes away.

Only in the case of this county, you may wait forever. Whatever the cost ends up being, there are holes in this system you can use for a Mexican border crossing.