Paducah city commissioners are voting Tuesday night on funding half a consulting fee to help upgrade the Paducah-McCracken County emergency communications center. It’s contingent on McCracken County paying the other half, which is $126,086.
Meanwhile, the McCracken County Fiscal Court met with Kentucky State Police communication representatives Monday about contracting their emergency communication services with them.
Kentucky State Police's dispatch proposal costs the county $1,392,325 upfront to transition their emergency communication center to KSP Post 1 in Mayfield. It would be $65,000 less a year than keeping combined services with the city.
In Tuesday’s fiscal court workshop, Sheriff Jon Hayden stressed if they separate they must have seamless communication with Paducah’s emergency communication center. Judge Executive Bob Leeper expressed concerns about any outside contract costs. During the meeting representatives from KSP expressed that they didn’t foresee it, but couldn’t guarantee it. They added that costs could come up, depending on the type of radio system changes that need to be upgraded regardless of the county’s decision.
“It's going to cost a considerable about of money, and it’s not an easy decision to make, but one that citizens expect us to have,” Leeper said.
Leeper also asked if a situation where a county and city have split before with one of them contracting their services to KSP. KSP representatives said to their knowledge it had not, but could be done.
“We are taking that into consideration. It would be a different scenario to be at Post 1 as opposed to being down the street, if you will, but at the same time we are doing due diligence, asking the right questions, making sure if we choose to go with them they'll give us the kind of service citizens expect,” Leeper said.
If the county contracts with KSP, it would take about two years to make the transition. KSP would need to add a communication center, as well as hire and train new dispatchers.
The city of Paducah considered contracting with KSP and the county earlier this year, but in March adopted a resolution not to go with them. They based it on Paducah’s fire and police chief's concerns about incomplete cost projections and differences between KSP's proposal and their way of delivering services as well as inter-agency communications.
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