CROWN POINT — The Lake County Council voted Tuesday to remove the towns of Schererville and Cedar Lake from the county’s public safety communications board, closing the curtain on a long-running dispute over E-911 consolidation.
In a 6-0 vote with one absence, council members amended the county ordinance that established the Lake County Public Safety Communications Commission, which oversees E-911.
Previously, Schererville and Cedar Lake were able to appoint voting members to the commission even though neither is part of the consolidated dispatch. The amended ordinance says the towns "shall no longer make appointments to the Commission or have representation on the Commission in any capacity.”
The amendment doesn’t preclude either town from cooperating with the commission on public safety initiatives, according to its sponsor, Councilwoman Christine Cid, D-East Chicago.
“It doesn’t mean they’re not welcome at the table,” she said. “They just can’t vote.”
When Schererville and Cedar Lake opted to form their own dispatch network, Southcom, instead of joining the consolidated center, they balked at having to pay a user fee to access Lake County’s radio network. The towns also wanted a share of the more than $2 million in telephone user fees the state grants to the county for emergency communications.
Schererville and Cedar Lake sued the county in 2015, but agreed to submit their case to court-ordered mediation. The parties reached an agreement in December that gives the two towns a share of the county’s user fees while allowing the county to bill them for the use of its radio network.