Ross Twp. official says new Butler County dispatch center charge ‘makes no sense’

In this 2016 file photo, a Butler County dispatcher works in the Butler County Sheriff’s dispatch center. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
In this 2016 file photo, a Butler County dispatcher works in the Butler County Sheriff’s dispatch center. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Two Ross Twp. officials expressed concerns about financial ramifications if they’re charged to use the Butler County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center.

Ross Twp. Police Chief Burt Roberts and Township Trustee Tom Willsey Jr. addressed the Butler County commissioners Monday morning, saying they don’t understand the proposed pricing and they’re worried how the township will pay for the dispatch service.

Ross Twp. will owe the sheriff’s office $75,780 next year, based on 4,165 calls, according to financial documents. Willsey doesn’t know how Ross will budget that expense.

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The first time Roberts heard about the township being charged was late last year when he was notified a day before a story on the subject appeared in the Journal-News, he told commissioners.

The sheriff’s office plans to charge the Butler County jurisdictions that run their police departments and use the dispatch center for the service next year, according to Chief Deputy Anthony Dwyer. He said the department plans to charge Fairfield, Oxford and Ross townships, the villages of New Miami and Seven Mile and MetroParks for police dispatching in 2021.

Liberty Twp. pays for sheriff’s office for police coverage and dispatch services.

Hamilton and Oxford began paying for the service several years ago and people asked why every department in Butler County wasn’t being charged, Dwyer said.

Willsey said since Ross operates its police department that “lessens the burden” on the sheriff’s office. So he doesn’t understand why Ross and others with a police department are being charged.

“That makes no sense to me,” he said on the phone after after the meeting. “We are being targets. Why are we asked to pay more? It’s just unfair.”

He also wants to see how the sheriff’s office devised its formula to charge the townships.

“When I go to Kroger I get a bill,” Willsey said. “I can go down that bill and see what I bought and what I paid or see if I’m charged for something I didn’t buy. We can’t find the formula and I want to know what I’m paying for. It’s just unfair.”

Dwyer said Hamilton and Montgomery counties charge for dispatch services and his operation came up with what it deemed the fairest formula.

Roberts wonders how many calls for service in Ross aren’t from the police department since the sheriff’s office runs radar in the township.

He also questioned why only Butler County police departments, and not fire departments, must pay for the dispatch center.

Butler County Commissioner T.C. Rogers said the commissioners will take the concerns under advisement and hope to “clear up” the situation and make the process more transparent.

Commissioner Cindy Carpenter was absent from the meeting.

WHAT BUTLER COUNTY DEPARTMENTS PAY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

Liberty Twp.: $3 million, a contract that includes dispatching

Hamilton: $1.15 million

Oxford: $366,319

Fairfield Twp.: $219,638

Ross Twp.: $75,780

New Miami: $47,542

Seven Mile: $5,764

Fairfield, Middletown, Monroe, Trenton and West Chester Twp. have dispatch centers.

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