Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Yesterday, Stark County Council on Governments (SCOG) Governance Committee chair Randy Gonzalez (also chairman of the Stark County Democratic Party, chief deputy clerk of courts [Canton Muny] and Jackson Township fiscal officer) appeared before the Stark County commissioners at their regular weekly meeting.

What was the occasion?

To secure funding for reconfigured 9-1-1.

Gonzalez had sniffed out that there is a brewing dispute between Commissioners Bosley and Harmon on the disposition of funds collected from the initiation to the termination (April 1, 2010, due the the November 3rd voted repeal) of the 0.50 sales/use tax imposed by commissioners (Bosley and Harmon) in December, 2008.

Harmon is giving indication that he may support putting the collected funds into the county's general fund.  Commissioner Bosley reacted swiftly to the Harmon intimation by making a emphasized point hat one-half of the collected taxes need to be used for the 9-1-1 reform.

Gonzalez asked commissioners not to make any decision on the monies for the time being because the Governance Committee is formulating a budget to submit to the commissioners for funding the restructuring of 9-1-1 into a centralized dispatch configuration.

The SCPR believes that the "Vote No Tax Increases" folks have been validated on two points they made in their campaign to repeal the imposed tax.

How so?

First, it is beginning to look like they are correct in saying that there is an alternative way to fund 9-1-1's redo.  The plan is to take up to one-half of money from the collected increase and couple it with an existing property tax assessment for dispatching operations together to the state of Ohio imposed cellphone levy and put together the centralized 9-1-1.

Centralized dispatch operations are to be sustained by contracting with Stark County's political subdivisions (who currently get dispatching services from one of ten existing dispatch centers) to provide those services "at a reduced cost" (engendered by efficiencies).

Second, the fees paid by the subdivisions would come out of revenues that the subdivisions (townships, villages and cities) collect through property taxes.

The lure?  The fees paid would be significantly short of the cost now being borne by the subdivisions for current dispatching services.

The SCOG Governance Committee is having a meeting tomorrow (November 12, 2009) to discuss the plan in more detail and taking the questions from representatives of Stark's subdivisions and emergency services stakeholders.

Commissioner Harmon also announced that Stark County Court of Common Pleas Court judge Charles Brown had prevailed on Stark County prosecutor John Ferrero to call a meeting of all county elected officials to discuss county finances in light of the sales tax repeal.

The Ferrero-called breakfast meeting is scheduled to be held at a Canton area restaurant on Tuesday, November 17th.

Here is a video of Gonzalez appearing before commissioners yesterday making the request as set forth above.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

I am not sure why the commissioners and Mr Gonzales are so hung up on using The Stark County Sheriff's dispatch center and the Canton City dispatch center. Why not use the two locations that are the closest thing our county had to "central dispatch." Use the RED center and Centcom. These two centers already dispatch for the majority of the county anyway, they are a great start toward central dispatch.