by Brian Orr
LA VETA- With the failure of the one cent sales tax here in Huerfano County, the entities that were relying on it to fund an upgraded emergency dispatch system are scrambling with Plan B.
Plan B is an Inter-Governmental Agreement, or IGA, signed by all the agencies that use the dispatch system. To date, only the Town of La Veta and the La Veta Fire Dept. has actually signed off on it, but various fire boards and local governments will be voting on it soon.
County Administrator John Galusha told an assembled group known as City, County, Town- or CCT, that he had hoped to receive a $128,000 grant from the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), which was contingent on the passage of the one cent sales tax. With that demise, he is hoping the IGA, signed by all the dispatch-using entities (fire departments, police and sheriff, ambulance and other emergency personnel) will be sufficient to get the grant funds to continue.
Galusha pointed out that the tax measure only failed by 77 votes, and thought the commissioners might want to consider putting a half-cent sales tax before the voters next year to continue funding for the upgraded dispatch center.
The upgrade for the dispatch center will consist of new Computer- Aided-Dispatch software, new hardware, a move to a more secure area in the Sheriff’s building, and hiring a dispatch supervisor.
And on that note, Galusha reported there were two applications for the supervisor position. Walsenburg Mayor Edi Sheldon urged Galusha to expand the advertising for the position to a regional and even national level.
The group debated the exact definition of the term, “call”, as each “call” will result in a $25 charge to the paged-out entity (for example, if an ambulance is called for, then the ambulance department will get that bill.) There was also discussion on what happens when multiple entities are paged out to an incident (for example, the Sheriff responds to a called-in report of a car crash, who calls for an ambulance, who in turn call for the fire department to help with extrication). Who gets the bill? There was also the question of an “outside” call versus an “inside” call (like the scenario above). The definition of a call changed throughout the evening, and as Commissioner Art Bobian remarked, “this is a dynamic document; it will continue to change.”
The for-the-moment definition of a call, which would generate the $25 bill (to be used to fund the upgraded dispatch) is: An outside call which comes in and which a service entity is dispatched as a result.
Then of course, there was the question of what about a call where a crew is dispatched, but then the call is cancelled (no fire, no car wreck, false report, etc.) Another sticky problem still to be worked out.
In other CCT business, La Veta Mayor Mickey Schmidt updated listeners on the ComNet lease of Town property by the water tanks. ComNet is now looking at putting their cell phone panels on poles just in front of the tanks, as opposed to actually on them, to avoid delays in inspections and other tank worries.