10/2/2012 8:01:00 AM Central Yavapai Fire board delays dispatch center decision
Prescott Valley Economic Development Director Gary Marks asks if the dispatch center is part of the 2010-2013 strategic plan as the Central Yavapai Fire District Board met to consider among other issues forming their own dispatch center.
Photo courtesy Les Stukenberg
Prescott Valley Mayor Harvey Skoog speaks to the board Monday, also asking it to slow down.
Photo courtesy Les Stukenberg
Lisa Irish Special to the Tribune
The Central Yavapai Fire District Board of Directors decided Monday night to continue working on issues with the Prescott Regional Communications Center, setting aside a plan to create its own communications/dispatch center.
After a meeting with the Prescott center's leadership last Tuesday, CYFD Board Chairman John Range, said he was disappointed, but he did see some progress. "Very little, but I think the window is opened to a point where we should continue with our negotiations," Range said Monday.
When Range asked for a motion on approving an agreement to buy an information management system for the proposed communications/dispatch center from previously budgeted funds for ArcGis and staffing software and non budgeted capital reserve funds, Board Member Bob Page initially said, "I move that we put this on hold."
But after Range asked for a motion that conforms with the format on the agenda or no motion at all, board members put forth no motion.
"There's no motion, in this case the item is defeated by lack of a motion," Range said.
Board members all declined to make motions for the purchase of infrastructure/equipment for the center with $493,632 in non-budgeted capital reserve funds and using $174,450 in personnel contingency funds in the fiscal year 2012-13 for personnel costs for the center.
Several of the 60 people attending the meeting applauded each decision, but the more than 20 firefighters standing in the back of the room did not.
Twenty-eight residents, business owners, firefighters, members of the www.pvaz.net/index.aspx?page=54">Prescott Valley Town Council, and candidates running for the CYFD board spoke at the meeting held at the CYFD Training Center.
"If you have something broke, fix it," said Charlie Musarra, who attended the meeting. "Don't go spending money on an unknown. Any new system will have bugs and problems."
CYFD Board Clerk Bob Gardiner said, "We do listen to you. We did go and talk. As John said there was a little bit of movement on some pretty big issues with the IGA."
Gardiner said one concern was that if the Prescott center is ever sued, that CYFD and the other agencies are liable for that as well as attorney's expenses.
"Talking about third party arbitration, personally I believe that if the Prescott Police Chief runs the center, then I don't think the city manager of Prescott should be the arbitrator," Gardiner said. "I think that's a reasonable request. When we asked that we got a stare. They didn't say yes, they didn't say no, they just stared at us. My guess is that that meant no."
Gardiner noted that despite those issues board members remain willing to talk to the Prescott leadership about their issues and get them resolved.
In an earlier meeting, CYFD Fire Chief Paul Nies had said he feared that firefighters receiving incomplete information about calls would be walking into dangerous and possibly deadly situations.
"In the seven years, that PRCC has been dispatching consolidated how many line of duty deaths has Central Yavapai Fire District had? Does anybody know the answer? I can count them on zero fingers," Christie Anderson said.
CYFD also would like more say on the Computer-Aided Dispatch system and equipment put into trucks, Range said.
At the previous meeting, Nies said the CAD system was unable to determine which engine was closest to a call. Nies also noted that CYFD does not have automatic vehicle locaters in their vehicles as Prescott Fire, Prescott Police, and Prescott Valley Police do. "I don't think anyone in this room would object to you using money for the locaters," said Dick Patton, a retired police officer and dispatcher.
CYFD Capt. Alex McKinnon described the work he and other firefighters had done over the years to build 18 communications centers throughout their dispatch area to eliminate communications dead spots where fire crews and dispatchers couldn't hear each other. Those centers were built for about $1.2 million and the stations are now valued at about $20 million.
McKinnon also noted that in the 1990s CYFD had dispatch operations operating out of its Sixth Street station. "When firefighters say we need something, they need it," he said.
Pattson said he thought the public needed more time to evaluate what they would get from the dispatch center and what the costs would be. "I went on your website and I could not find any definitive budget for this project," Patton said. "How much is staffing going to cost? How much is training going to cost?"
Page said he took affront that some people saying board members had already made up their mind. "We don't make up our mind because of somebody else's statements. It just doesn't work that way," Page said. "I'm one of the people up for re-election. And I want to tell you right now, that I do not make a decision based on my political longevity."
Board Member Tony Reiter said, "We only base our decisions on the facts that we are given, information given from other agencies, and the guys on the floor. We also listen to you guys when you're here. I mean in four years this it he biggest crowd I've ever seen. This is good. This is the way it should be."
"The district and the board and the community we all need each other," said Mike Generalli, board member. "We all do our best to work together."
In other business, the board also approved an agreement for legal services with Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewardt, P.C.