Union Co. 911 Dispatch Center May Relocate
by Rachel Skytta, Reporter
September 03, 2013 5:52 PM
Former EMT Vicki Larsen speaks for many Union County residents when she expresses the importance of keeping their 911 dispatch service local.
Union County citizens and officials gathered on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of relocating the 911 dispatch center to Lincoln County. Sheriff Dan Limoges says the decision is fueled primarily by a lack of funding.
"They've cut the budget way down to where we're not even going to be able to function. If you're not going to fund something appropriately, and you can't keep it open, isn't that sort of a forced closure?" said Limoges.
Commissioners will have to tack on $43,000 to the budget in order to keep the dispatch center in Union County. It's a price that many feel is worth it. Residents fear that eliminating the 911 dispatch service may make it more difficult for emergency responders to reach the scene as quickly as possible.
"It would certainly affect lives. I would hate to think it would cost lives, but it would certainly affect lives," said Larsen.
It's an issue of safety, as well as community.
"Any center can give good service," Limoges pointed out. "But a local center is local. It's part of the community. It becomes part of the public."
Limoges and the citizens of Union County fear that if the dispatch center is relocated, it will cost the area many jobs. Commissioners are set to vote on a final budget on September 19.