State News
March 27, 2015

Decision on closing call centers put off ‘til September

Rutland station’s future to be determined

By Erin Mansfield, VTDigger.org

The House Appropriations Committee approved a stopgap measure Monday that puts off a decision on closing selected state police call centers until mid-September.

The plan uses $425,000 in funding from the state’s 2 percent universal service fee to fund the four state-operated public safety answering points, or PSAPs, from July 1 to Sept. 15.

The budget bill instructs Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn to meet with local first responders to discuss how emergency dispatch and E-911 call-taking should be set up and funded in their communities, and whether those duties should be separated.

The two responsibilities are now performed by the same people at the state police PSAPs in Derby, Williston, Rutland Town and Rockingham. There are four other quasi-private PSAPs performing those functions in Shelburne, Hyde Park, St. Albans and Hartford.

The move comes after political outcry following a proposal to save $1.7 million by consolidating the Derby and Rutland Town PSAPs into facilities in Williston and Rockingham, respectively.

Rep. Kitty Toll, D-Danville, said she was able to find one fiscal quarter’s worth of funding from the universal service fee to buy the Rutland and Derby areas more time to absorb the consolidation. Rep. Mitzi Johnson, D-South Hero, chair of the committee, said the small sum of money will help voices come to the table to find a “community-based solution.” That solution will likely require local funding, such as a county tax or per-call fee.

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