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St. Joseph County 911 looks to increase 2019 budget

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. --Despite continuous problems, the St. Joseph County dispatch center is proposing an increased budget for 2019.

2019 City Budget presentations began August first, but the hearing for St. Joseph County dispatch operations hasn’t been presented yet.

South Bend Common Council President Tim Scott expressed the importance of the budget. “It’s a major concern because the one thing we cannot do, is not have a good 911 center.”

The proposed 2019 budget for the center asks for around an additional 900 thousand dollars, and the executive director position looks to increase its salary by 18 thousand dollars.

“We kinda got to scrutinize whether that’s justified with the cost overruns with the center getting them up to speed, and the services that they’re providing,” said Scott.

Executive director Raymond Schultz says that these problems he is taking on is one reason he’s asking for the pay the first director of the center was receiving. “I had asked for the salary of the first director was making, and I was told to do that throughout the budget process.”

“We’re having a current issue with our software vendor,” Schultz explained. Even though there have been past problems, a recent issue the center has been dealing with is complications with its 3 million dollar computer software system not allowing proper response to thousands of addresses.

Schultz told ABC57 from January 1st to July 11th, 9,500 addresses could not be verified for a proper response, but Schultz says it could be more.

Scott says that the 911 center usually operates on a deficit year to year. But he also says improvements have been made under Schultz during his first nine months. “Ray I think is doing a very good job with getting people trained, cross trained and up to speed… Because before, we had flat out issues where calls were being missed. People you know EMS, police, fire have been sent to the wrong location.”

Council members are working to efficiently get the center operating without a deficit. “The main concern is everybody is safe, and we’re getting proper service and attentive service,” said Scott.

Schultz says the community has to trust 911; he says they have been working hard to fix the problems with operations. As far as his salary, he says he’s just going through the budget process and what ever happens, happens.

This budget has not yet been approved. One hearing is set for next Tuesday afternoon.

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