EAST PEORIA — The East Peoria City Council was the first to approve an intergovernmental agreement to consolidate dispatch centers in Tazewell County, a move that will ultimately lead to the shutdown of the city's own dispatch center. The remaining governmental bodies will all vote separately on the same agreement next week.
"There are important decisions to be made, and I am very confident with all parties having a vested interest in the public safety of all throughout Tazewell County that everyone will work well together and the end result will be positive," Commissioner John Kahl said this week. Kahl is the commissioner for public health and safety.
In 2015, the state mandated that all Illinois counties with a population of less than 250,000 that have a single Emergency Telephone System Board (ETSB) and more than two dispatch centers to reduce that number by half. That means the four dispatch centers in Tazewell County will be reduced to two by 2019.
The Tazewell County ETSB has worked for two years on the plan and hired an outside consultant to help. The consultant's recommendations unanimously approved by the ETSB include creating a new board to oversee the consolidated centers and locate them in the current Morton police department building (TC North) and the current TazCom Center in Pekin (TC South). As a result, the dispatch centers in Washington and East Peoria police departments will close.
"These were the two most viable options from a cost savings standpoint, obviously due to the bricks and mortar already being in place and both having the square footage necessary to accommodate the consolidated agencies," Kahl said.
The ETSB approved the agreement on Wednesday, one day after the East Peoria vote. Washington and Morton will vote on the agreement at special meetings next week; Pekin City Council will vote at its regular meeting on Monday and the Tazewell County Board at its regular meeting on Wednesday. East Peoria will hold a special meeting sometime next week to approve the agreement on a second reading.
Cost of operating the new consolidated dispatch centers will be borne by the 44 agencies in the county that will use the service. Based on the number of calls for service, East Peoria Fire Department will pay 3.6 percent of the funding; East Peoria Police will pay 17.3 percent of the funding.
Scott Hilyard can be reached at 686-3244 or by email at shilyard@pjstar. Follow @scotthilyard on Twitter.