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Interlocal agreement on 911 dispatch consolidation plods slowly toward finish line

Updated: January 27, 2014 12:00PM

ST. JOHN — No more changes will be made to the final version of the interlocal agreement needed for the consolidation of Lake County’s E-911 dispatch services.

Nicole Bennett, attorney for the Lake County Public Safety Commission, said the Dec. 6 version of the interlocal deal is the final version of the document — no more tweaking allowed.

“I am still getting many, many questions,” Bennett said, adding she is encouraging officials who need more information to continue reaching out.

In cities, the document must be signed by both the mayor, as city executive, and the city council president, as head of the fiscal body, with each signature verified by the clerk-treasurer. In towns, the town council president must sign the document as the town’s executive and then again as the head of the fiscal body, the town council. Those signatures must also be attested to by the clerk-treasurer.

Bennett said there has been some confusion in the units that have signed the document as to who should be doing the signing, and she has been working to clarify that with officials.

So far five local government units — Crown Point, New Chicago, Munster, Merrillville and Lake County — have filed all necessary signatures for the agreement, Bennett said. East Chicago and Hobart have approved the interlocal on the first two reading; the approval will become official with the final, third reading.

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott, Whiting Mayor Joseph Stahura and Lake Station Mayor Keith Soderquist have all voiced their support for the interlocal and their intent to sign and are encouraging their respective city councils to sign the document.

Several communities are expected to discuss and possibly vote on the agreement before the end of the year. Dyer, Lowell and Schererville all are expected to bring the measure up for discussion at their regularly scheduled meetings.

Bennett said while many officials still feel they are being strong-armed by the state into entering into the consolidated dispatch, they appear to understand the necessity and the timing of the deal.

Thomas Dabertin, consultant to the E-911 commission, said at some point the Lake County Council would like to have one final document containing the signatures of all participating units to keep on file in the auditor’s office. Dabertin said he would be working with the communities on that document.

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