September 10, 2020LANCASTER — At a recent Select Board meeting in Lancaster, Town Manager Ed Samson discussed the possibility of introducing a consultant, in regards to the Town's new regional dispatch plan. Present at the meeting was Scott Quilty, who has owned a dispatch center and has vast knowledge on the subject.
Quilty suggested that an independently run dispatch center is important, however stressed the guidance of local fire and police chiefs for input. The state has given a time frame of two years for the project to be complete, however, Quilty relayed that time frame would be the minimal amount needed.
The change comes after the DOT (Department of Transportation) and Weeks Hospital announced they can no longer provide dispatch service to local towns. The hospital, however, has offered space to host the new dispatch center. Selectman Leo Enos did inquire if any surrounding towns are interested in hosting the center. Samson responded that nothing has been discussed at this time.
Lancaster's Assistant Fire Chief and the Town's Health Officer, Ted Joubert, said, "It would be a huge benefit, financially to the hospital to have this center located at their facility."
Quilty advised that creating a new center would be a good opportunity to upgrade equipment.
Joubert added, "Our equipment is about six years old and we have no idea on the longevity of it."
To this, Samson said there is a line item in the budget for dispatch equipment. A grant was used to purchase the current equipment.
Running the new center would require an estimate of roughly ten people 24/7.
Joubert said the project is no small one, noting "We have a rather substantial project in front of us, no matter what the end result will be, it will take a ton of work."
He went on to say, "Right now, we're looking at possible consultants and what the best case scenario for tax payers would be both financially and safety wise."
Right now, the DOT is preparing a MOU (memorandum of understanding) about how to go about transitioning, to all area select boards.