Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cities and Villages and Towns Agree - Oh My!

The Dane County Cities & Villages Association and the Dane County Towns Association held a joint meeting in Verona tonight (December 16) to hear presentations and discuss the matter. It was decided to give the respective executive boards the authority to respond to the county executive's attempt to force a quick decision on her take-it-or-leave-it proposal. Falk demands a local government decision by January 15, 2010. Her letter, sent to all local elected officials, was border-line rude.

The technical issues have been largely resolved (a process which took several years), but who would run the radio system and how it would be paid for were not resolved - or even raised until very recently. Nearly everyone from the cities, villages, towns at the meeting agreed that a county-wide interoperable system, as proposed, is desirable. That alone is pretty amazing.

The County proposes to pay for capital costs of $30 million, but they also propose to shift some of the operating and maintenance costs to local governments that have never paid those costs before. That shift simply moves the taxes from the county levy to the local levy (and in a way that is partially based on how wealthy the communities are.)

Unfortunately, I don't have easy access to the documents that really describe this plan or how it would work. And it is complicated.)

Here is reasonably good summary of the County Communications Interoperability Governance Steering Committee's proposal on cost sharing. However, the cost-sharing has changed since that time.

A story:

Cost-sharing plan supported for county emergency radios September 2, 2009 (I would note that the "support" referred to came from the county's own "911 Board").

A Channel3000 story from October 6, 2009.

One hopes that we can all get it figured out to implement a system that will make everyone in Dane County safer for a long time to come, particularly in a large-scale emergency.

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