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911 consolidation agreement passes Lake County council, commissioners

Updated: January 12, 2014 6:30AM

CROWN POINT — The latest version of the interlocal agreement for the consolidation of E-911 dispatch centers in Lake County was approved Tuesday by both the council and commissioners.

Lake County Council members during their regular meeting approved the interlocal agreement by a 4-2 vote. The “no” votes came from council members Christine Cid, D-East Chicago, and Dan Dernulc, R-Highland, who cited concerns over the financial burden on the county. Councilwoman Elsie Franklin, D-Gary, was absent.

In a special meeting Tuesday, the Lake County Board of Commissioners also approved the agreement. The vote was unanimous.

“I’m real excited. So much work has been done by so many people. Now it seems like everybody is in a clearer position where we need to be,” said Herbert Cruz, chairman of the Lake County Public Safety Commission.

Crown Point was the first community to sign on, with both Mayor David Uran and the City Council signing the document last week. East Chicago approved the interlocal agreement Monday, Cruz said. Schererville discussed the proposed agreement at its Monday meeting but did not take action. The matter will be before the Merrillville Town Council on Tuesday night and the Dyer Town Council on Thursday.

Commissioner Gerry Scheub, D-Crown Point, said the consolidation was mandated by the state. County approval of the document should encourage other municipalities to sign on.

“I think every city and town has been waiting for the county to take the lead,” Scheub said.

Dernulc said he voted against the interlocal agreement because he still does not have enough information about the funding and how the county will pay for expenses outside of what will be paid for by the transfer of the property tax levy.

“When it looks like it is going to cost more than we are paying now, I can’t approve it,” Dernulc said.

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