No more dispatch for Dyersville - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

No more dispatch for Dyersville

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DYERSVILLE (KWWL) -- At Monday night's city council meeting, Dyersville officials finalized the city budget, which included cutting dispatch.

The plan, beginning in early this summer, is for dispatch to close. All the calls will then go through the Delaware or Dubuque County Sheriff's Departments.

The Dyersville dispatch is not a 911 call center. Those emergency calls currently go through the counties. Still, part time dispatcher Mary Waterman said the community is losing a resource when it comes to those day-to-day calls.

"They can range from, 'Is school canceled?' to weather questions to needing fingerprints, booklets to study for the drivers ed test and things like that," Waterman said.

She said Dispatch consists of four full-time dispatchers, her part-time position and one substitute dispatcher.

For the city, balancing the budget meant eliminating about $4,000 from city administration, cutting some funds for the parks and recreation department and the public library and getting rid of Dispatch, mayor Jim Heavens said.

"Either we keep the tax rate the same and eliminate dispatch, and with a few other cuts to the budget, we could make that work, or we're going to have to raise our taxes a minimum of 15 percent to try and make that equation balance with that dispatch in it yet," he said.

There is a bright side to the cuts, Heavens said. Because of them, property tax rate will not go up in Dyersville.

"We have not raised our tax rate in Dyersville for the last 11 years, and it looks like we're not going to raise it this year, either," he said, "but this is the year we ran out of money to support the non-911 dispatchers."

Waterman said having Dubuque and Delaware Counties field all the calls could affect emergency response time.

Often, she said, "we have an officer closer than they do have a deputy, so we'll send ours, and he's usually a lot of times the first officer on the scene."

While residents will save on taxes, they may lose out on convenience.

Mayor Heavens said it would cost about $200,000 to keep the dispatch center going. He said the city plans on creating one job to handle some of the duties of dispatch. With the cuts plus the addition of that job, he said, taxpayers are saving approximately $140,000 with respect to the dispatch plans.

He said several of the dispatchers are at retirement age, and other city departments could likely absorb everybody else in Dispatch.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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