By Sue Botos
City officials have expressed a sense of tongue-in-cheek humor concerning the recent request by North Olmsted Mayor Kevin Kennedy to join with Westshore Council of Governments (WCOG) cities in requesting a grant to study the feasibility of consolidating emergency dispatching.
“Am I the only one who sees the irony in this?” asked Councilman at Large Dave Furry during a recent city council meeting, where Kennedy’s letter of request, which was also signed by the three Olmsted Township trustees, was briefly discussed. Furry referred to Kennedy’s withdrawal from the Rocky River Municipal Court to form a mayor’s court, effective at the beginning of the year.
The four cities composing the WCOG, Bay Village, Fairview Park, Rocky River and Westlake, now utilize the court. Muni court officials have made cutbacks in numerous areas, including staff, to make up for the drop in court cases and income.
Rocky River Mayor Pam Bobst stated that the four WCOG cities already have a central dispatch center for fire and EMS at St. John’s Health Center in Westlake.
“We have looked at the capacity of the dispatch center,” noted Bobst, adding that Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and state officials are discussing the reduction of the number of dispatch centers in the county to four.
Bobst commented that the WCOG cities are already looking at ways to further collaborate to stretch already thin budgets. She said that while there is plenty of funding available for cooperative dispatch centers , the dollars are usually awarded to larger entities.