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Future of Lee County's Emergency Dispatch Center Debated

Jun 23, 2015

Some big questions must be answered about the future of Lee County's combined emergency dispatch center. The agreement that created LeeComm expires next summer and there are concerns it will not be renewed.

LeeComm, which replaced the dispatch centers in Keokuk, Fort Madison, and Lee County, went online on Oct. 1, 2010. It is overseen by a nine-member board that includes the police chiefs in Keokuk and Fort Madison, the Lee County Sheriff, and a representative of the Lee County Fire Chiefs Association. 

Lee County Supervisor Gary Folluo serves on that panel. He said two issues have surfaced as the oversight board looks towards the next agreement: cost and employee status.

Keokuk, Fort Madison and Lee County currently almost all of the costs associated with LeeComm, but there is a small percentage covered by the county's smallest communities.

Folluo said the fact that the smaller communities are being charged has become a point of contention.

"Some of the mayors feel like it's costing them more," he said. "Obviously, they did not paid for the service before they all had, the county did all the dispatching for their communities."

Folluo said there are also concerns about whether the dispatchers are Lee County employees or LeeComm employees. He said a task force has been formed to help determine the future of the center.

"(It is) looking at what the cost would be to the county to take over the whole process," he said.

It's expected that such a change would require the county to tax all residents for the service, as opposed to LeeComm being funded by per-capita payments from each city.

Folluo said no matter what happens with the oversight of LeeComm, local residents do not need to worry about dispatch services being regionalized or outsourced to a nearby county.