Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Letter: Here's The 911

This letter was sent to me the other day but I haven't had time to post it. It's since been posted on the Asbury Park Press under the title "County dispatching move threatens public safety".

I posted the letter on the MIDDLETOWN, New Jersey Facebook page and its gotten quite a reaction. It's been shared over 40 time and has over 120 comments. Go take a look.

Regarding the April 5 story, “Middletown to lay off dispatchers, join county’s 911 center,” the township will not have to pay to keep these employees on the payroll, but the residents will continue to pay to keep them on the county payroll. There are no real savings here since county 911 operators receive higher pay. 
In 2011 the township borrowed more than $600,000 to purchase a state-of-the art 911 computer system, which did not include installation costs. This loan still has another five years of payments remaining. Payments will continue to be made on equipment that will be used only as a backup. 
The announcement stated that the township will be paying $475,000 to the county on an annual basis, with a maximum 2 percent annual increase over the next four years. By the time the original loan is paid, in five years, the township will have paid the county more than $2 million in fees. This, plus the remaining loan payments, will total more than $2.3 million. 
This move also could jeopardize public safety if a call is misdirected. A five-minute delay in response time to a fire is the difference between a room being lost and an entire home. A five-minute delay in response to a heart attack victim is the difference between life and death. Contrary to reports, there are no guarantees that a former Middletown dispatch operator will answer calls received from Middletown, who have knowledge and wisdom about the township’s 42 square miles. 
Better decisions need to be made by our elected officials regarding the safety of the residents and especially the emergency responders who work and volunteer in Middletown. Saving a few dollars cost much more in the end. 
Don Watson


Anonymous said...

Despite Mr/\. Watson's assertions, there WILL be savings for the Middletown homeowner because of this move.

First, not all of the current dispatch staff will necessarily be hired by the County - only those that they need to handle their call volume. The costs for those employees will be shared by the entire county, not just Middletown. This year the County did not increase taxes, and next year it probably will continue to stay low.

The press release stated that the savings annually will be over $1 million dollars a year, and more in the future with no funding being required for equipment upgrades and no funding required for healthcare for retired dispatchers and their families.

This facility is state of the art and will provide the best dispatch services possible to Middletown.

Looks like old Don is just playing politics, huh?

Michael Morris said...

No more than anyone else that has a concern about this issue.

Anonymous said...

By the response above, the Township has been keeping dispatchers on staff that were not needed. We are the county that will be paying for the cost of the employees, whether at the county or town level.

The county system will need to be upgraded and the participating towns will have to pay for these upgrades. Again we pay either way.

Mr. Watson also pointed out that we are still paying a loan for the current system. It would be nice to know how much more time is this loan for and how much is left to pay on it.

I hear that other towns that heve signed up with the county system did not lay off their dispatchers and still realize savings.

This letter doesn't is not playing anything but letting the public know what is taking place in their community and the potential consequences of removing qualified and knowledgable employees that are being tossed aside.

Anonymous said...

No the town doesn't have extra dispatchers. But when a group of towns work together, there's not as much down time. That way they can use less dispatchers. See how that works?

Middletown will save a million dollars. That sounds pretty good to me.

Someone Who Knows Better said...

Shared services usually save money but no savings are worth compromising the rapid response of knowledgeable local dispatchers. Furthermore a million dollars spread over all Middletown taxpayers amounts to a small amount per taxpayer so there's little to be considered from that perspective. Safety is paramount....not money !

The derogatory and snide remarks regarding Don Watson are indicative of the ignorance of individuals making those nasty remarks. Mr. Watson has spent hours and hours over time attending Township committee meetings because of a genuine concern for ALL the taxpayers and citizens of this community.

Politics has little or nothing to do with this. About time the politicians realized we all live here as citizens regardless of party affiliation ! Thank you, Don, for caring !!

Bet,the nitwit ,small minds spouting this criticism haven't given a damn about anyone but themselves.

Anonymous said...

A million dollars is about 2% on the tax rate. You really think that's not worth doing?

As far as safety, the dispatchers font have to physically be in Middletown to take calls and use the radio, do they?

Efficiently providing service in a state of the art facility - yeah, that sounds horrible... LOL!

Someone Who Knows Better said...

Hey you.6:20 p.m.,

Why don't you take the time to spell right( see font for don't) and have the intelligence to understand that a knowledge of this township is a plus for any of the dispatchers. Why do you yokels always get defensive when someone else has a legitimate opinion. And your audacity strikes me as arrogance personified.....typical of the republican idiots who fail to realize WE ALL HAVE A STAKE IN MIDDLETOWN IF WE LIVE HERE regardless of political affiliation.!! And by the way WE ALL PAY TAXES regardless of what party we belong to.

NOBODY said it was horrible to achieve savings. What was said,small mind,, was it should not be achieved at the sacrifice of safety !!! You got a problem with that ????????? This TC did not think twice when building turf fields in very trying economic times in the last couple of years,did they ????

Go soak your head !!!! Get a life !!!