By Nicole Hennessy
Olmsted Falls is currently in talks with Strongsville in reference to joining their emergency dispatch center, which would cost the city an estimated annual fee of $300,000, saving them about $10,000.
Those talks, now, have stalled, but are not completely off the table.
A last-minute decision, the situation is further intensified by a pending request for an extension on a $720,000 FEMA grant, which currently must be used by the end of March. Unless the city regionalizes its government or joins a central dispatch center, it will lose the grant, which is approved for purchasing new equipment.
In lieu of the Strongsville deal, though, as mentioned, it is not off the table, Olmsted Falls is now in talks with Olmsted Township and Brookpark in reference to forming a full council of governments (COG) similar to the one established by Fairview Park, Lakewood, North Olmsted, Bay Village, Westlake and Rocky River.
President of Olmsted Falls’ City Council, Kathleen Fenderbosch, said, “I think the problem with Strongville was that everyone was going to have to pay a set amount and that no one had any control with that board.”
With the COG, each community involved has a say and can voice concerns and opinions.
Though, COG’s also come with more responsibilities and issues when it comes to further-down-the-road issues like consolidating emergency services like fire and police, which operate under separate regulations and pay-scales from city to city.
“I see the spirit of why we’re doing this,” said Fenderbosch. “And if it can be done, that’s great. If it can’t be, we still have Strongsville.”