911 merger should be a go

Here we are, months after it was first discussed publicly, and still there is debate about the possible merger of Warren’s dispatch center with Trumbull County’s.

Finally this month, Warren City Council voted to allow the city administration to take a step forward and at least begin negotiations with Trumbull County, still leaving the door open for further debate on this topic.

But even that was met with controversy when Councilmen Alford Novak, D-2nd Ward, and Dan Sferra, D-at Large, voted no because they believed the public should have been notified that the vote to begin talks may have been on the agenda.

The truth is, there has been so much debate on this topic that the public has had plenty of opportunities to weigh in on it. The vote was taken with transparency at a public meeting.

A draft contract proposes the city would pay the county about $40,000 a month – about $480,000 a year – to do its dispatching. The city now pays approximately $980,000 a year to operate its own dispatching system.

And although it was not written into the formal contract, the county has agreed verbally to provide jobs for the dispatchers who move from the city to the county. In fact, the Trumbull County dispatch center will have two seats available on each shift for the city of Warren.

Also, chiefs of other police departments have reported to council members that the county system has worked for their departments.

Meanwhile, more and more information is surfacing that indicates Warren’s finances are in dire straits, the city’s streets are crumbling, fewer people live here and fewer people work here. So what is the objection?

Warren officials should move forward with negotiations and ultimately that plan to merge the two dispatch centers.