MOUNT VERNON — The Knox County 9-1-1 Board acted Tuesday to begin the process of consolidating the two call centers by the end of 2013.
The decision came in the form of a resolution asking the county commissioners to reopen the 9-1-1 plan in order to make changes. In particular, the call centers at the Mount Vernon Police and the Knox County Sheriff’s office will be consolidated in one center, to be located at the County Service Building at 117 E. High St.
An inactive, but operational, backup center would be maintained at the Knox County Sheriff’s Office. It would be available in case of emergency, such as equipment failure at the primary center, and be available for training.
The 9-1-1 Steering Committee has been studying the possible combining of the call centers since September 2011. They found that consolidation would result in cost savings and more efficient operations.
A complete accounting of costs involved, as well as savings, was included in the committee report.
Chair Teresa Bemiller said “We needed to take a realistic look at cost and savings before actually recommending to pursue consolidation.”
The project would cost an estimated $322,000 to implement, the report concluded, but it would result in savings of about $250,000 per year, mostly in personnel costs from having to maintain a staff of five fewer full-time dispatchers. The new center would be staffed by three dispatchers per shift, while the current centers are supposed to each have two per shift.