Asotin Co. Govt's discuss Whitman E9-1-1 dispatch service costs

CLARKSTON, WA - Hiring dispatch services for Asotin County isn't cheap, and local governments are now in talks to break up the costs to make it fair.

There's a lot more business that goes into a 9-1-1 call than one would expect. And it was all about the dollars and cents Monday night at the Clarkston City Council meeting.

"We want to work with all the entities," said Asotin County Commissioner Brian Shinn.

Asotin, Clarkston and Asotin County have all used Whitcom E9-1-1 services since 2005. It's a private company that they're paying approximately $170,000 to this year for their dispatch services. But not everyone is happy with the way the numbers break down. In a contract signed in 2010, Clarkston agreed to pay Asotin County almost $200,000 a year for five years. The city instead wants their payments to reflect the number of calls from each area. County commissioner Brian Shinn acknowledged that the prices should be adjusted.

"We want to cost allocate to appropriate places," said Shinn. "There are things that are being charged to the fire departments that shouldn't be like warrant services. There are other things that are being charged to other groups that aren't appropriate either."

But county leaders also said the emergency management costs include more than just the dispatch services. Like maintaining equipment or fixing radio towers for those calls.

"If you don't get everything that you've asked for then you won't enter into a contract?" said City of Clarkston Councilman, Bill Provost.

"All we're saying is that before we would sign a new contract that those costs would be considered," said Shinn. "They're negotiable."

So far in 2013, Whitcom Director Patti Kelly said 42% of dispatch calls come from Asotin County, 50% of the calls are from Clarkston and 8% from the City of Asotin.

The county also receives state grant money to help pay for dispatch services.