County Lawmakers at Odds Over Dispatcher Decision
When you call 911 in Jefferson County, a dispatcher always picks up. But in Jefferson County, some are concerned those dispatchers answering the phones are answering too many calls and overworked to the point of burnout.
"Call volume has gone up. And obviously overtime has gone up quite a bit," said Anthony Doldo, R-15th District. "This county is growing, and yet we're not growing the heart of our operation here".
The county's fire and emergency management is asking lawmakers for three new dispatchers. A request Anthony Doldo says is a no-brainer.
"I've been down there, and I've seen the operation. It's definitely a lot of multi-tasking. They're getting a call like one every 1.3 seconds," said Doldo.
On the other side of the argument, some say it's too costly for the county's upcoming budget, which legislators are expected to pass this week.
"The fact is, we have a really tight budget. And we don't have the revenues that we had in the past that we could project. We can't increase sales tax this year," said Scott Gray, R-13th district.
Additional money would require legislators to do one of two things. Either dip into the county's fund balance, basically a savings account, or override the state's two percent tax cap and raise property taxes.
"We're at our cap. And I just simply don't believe this is the right environment, right now economically, to override that cap so we can continue spending additional money in this budget," said Gray.
A decision will likely be made when the full board of legislators meets this coming Wednesday to vote on the county's proposed budget for 2014.
Sunday, March 9, 2014, Watertown, NY