SCHERERVILLE | The Schererville Town Council supports St. John's proposal that the county's E-911 consolidation should consist of two operating call centers.
The council unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding Wednesday night regarding the proposal.
Town Attorney David Austgen said the memorandum of understanding isn't a binding agreement, and it allows Schererville to continue to consider other options.
According to St. John's plan, Schererville, St. John, Cedar Lake, Crown Point, Dyer, Griffith, Highland Lowell, Munster and county police who cover rural south county would form a separate public safety answering point, or PSAP, which would leave East Chicago, Gary, Hammond, Hobart, Lake Station, Merrillville, New Chicago and Whiting to form their own PSAP.
St. John Town Manager Steve Kil said the annual operating budget for the south county PSAP would be $2.2 million.
The amount each community would contribute would be based on call volume, which would result in savings for each of the municipalities, he said.
Communities in the south county PSAP wouldn't be required to transfer property taxes currently earmarked for city and town 911 police and fire budgets to fund the operations, Kil said. Instead, each community would make its own decision regarding how it would pay its contribution.
He said other counties in the state follow that model, including Allen County.
Staffing for the south county PSAP would include one director, 20 full-time employees and six part-time employees, Kil said. There would be an average of seven employees working each shift.
Some county officials have objected that St. John's plan isn't legal and would further delay E-911 consolidation efforts.
Kil said he has received two legal opinions supporting St. John's proposal, and he will continue to meet with other communities to obtain their support.
Schererville officials agree that it makes sense to have north and south PSAPs in Lake County that could back up each other, and they appreciate St. John's efforts to create a proposal for an efficient south county PSAP that will result in savings for municipalities.