By Wyndi Veigel
The future of dispatching for Farmersville emergency services along with other Collin County agencies is underway.
Sheriff Terry Box has given the police agencies across Collin County, including Farmersville PD, that utilize Collin County Dispatch to get off their dispatch system by 2019. Given the nature of how expensive dispatches can be – millions of dollars – a warning was needed.
Other cities affected include Princeton, Celina, Melissa, Anna, Lavon and Josephine, along with Branch, Blue Ridge, Nevada and Westminister Volunteer Fire Departments.
The sheriff has cited costs concerns due to upgrading infrastructure as one of the primary reasons for these actions, Police Chief Mike Sullivan said.
“It’s political football between sheriff and the county commissioners,” Sullivan said. “One’s playing the others.”
After much discussion, the sheriff did let the agencies see the study, which was performed regarding the future of Collin County Dispatch, however, Sullivan said, “It’s basically seven pages of nothing.”
One thing the sheriff has confirmed for area agencies that are looking at forming a regional dispatch is giving them a channel to operate off of within Collin County.
This is an item that is exceptionally important due to increasing costs of building towers, if a channel is not secured.
“If that goes away we are talking towers, microwaves, it’s huge,” Sullivan said.
Police departments are the only ones affected by the sheriff’s ultimatum. Many cities, including Farmersville, are discussing options, including moving their own fire department off Collin County Dispatch.
“I don’t know if we want to continue to let Collin County house our fire department,” Farmersville Mayor Joe Helmberger said.
There are two sides to this coin, Helmberger said, since Collin County currently pays Farmersville FD to take calls in their fire district – about 125 square miles.
“The fire department has the biggest fire district in the county,” Fire Chief Kim Morris said.
Currently, the police department pays the county about $28,000 for dispatching services and the fire department receives $50,000 a year from the county for county run services.
Currently, the agencies across Collin County are investigating potentially forming a regional dispatching system.
All of the cities involved are meeting May 29 in Princeton to discuss regional dispatching opportunities and requirements.