Smaller entities like Morgan Twp. that use the sheriff to police their communities are not being asked to pay for dispatch fees.
Ross Twp. Trustee Board President Tom Willsey is still fuming over the issue even though they got a reprieve from billing this year.
“They are still targeting six agencies to pay dispatch fees and the other political entities in Butler County are not paying,” Willsey said. “A good case in point, using their figures we had 4,400 calls for service last year through their dispatch center. The Butler County sheriff had 52,000 calls for service, my portion is $75,000, well who paid for the 52,000 (calls).”
Fairfield, Middletown, Monroe, Trenton and West Chester Twp. have their own dispatch centers. Liberty Twp. pays the sheriff’s office about $3 million a year to have their own dedicated sheriff’s outpost and dispatch services are included.
Hamilton and Oxford have their own police departments but began paying around $1.15 million and $366,319 respectively for the service several years ago.
Chief Deputy Anthony Dwyer said these six entities have made a choice to provide enhanced police service to their communities and with that comes a cost. He said there is a difference between charging to dispatch other people’s employees and sending the sheriff’s own people out for emergencies.
“It’s a change in paradigm and anytime you do that people are resistant, and I understand that,” Dwyer said. “I got it for free forever, well that doesn’t mean you’ll continue to get it for free.”
He said the bigger complaint has been on how the fees have been calculated and he has adjusted that calculation from charging people based on budgets to actual expenses and on calls for service from the previous year.
Fairfield Twp. Police Chief Bob Chabali will get the biggest bill next year and he said he believes his trustees are willing to pay it.
“As long as it’s fair and equitable and there is an MOU (memorandum of understanding) we’ll be going forward,” Chabali said.
New Miami Mayor Stephanie Chandler said it was good to get a break this year.
“It’s great,” Chandler said. “It helps significantly, it gives us some time to figure out what we’re going to do... It definitely helps this year.”
Oxford City Manager Doug Elliott was the first to address the fairness issue when they ratified a dispatch contract with the sheriff in 2016. He said since this whole topic has become such an issue it has come to light his city is overpaying by about $100,000 — based on calculations Dwyer provided to everyone.
The city did receive a 3% contract reduction but it still doesn’t make up the overcharge. He said the city “may need to explore other options” since the county hasn’t agreed to amend the contract.
Dwyer said when the county took on Hamilton and Oxford they needed to add personnel and make substantial changes to the operation, so there were extra costs to those entities spread over time. That is why the numbers he distributed don’t match the actual contract costs.