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Hickory Hills to consolidate emergency phone boards and 911 center

  • Written by By Sharon L. Filkins

Seeking to comply with recent legislation passed earlier this year regarding Emergency Telephone System Boards (ETSB) and Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP), Hickory Hills Council members agreed to consolidate its existing ETSB and maintain its own 911 emergency dispatch center.

The agreement was reached at the Feb.25 Committee of the Whole Meeting, where council members reviewed a report from Police Chief Alan Vodicka in which he presented two options available to meet the ETSB/PSAP legislation.

According to Vodicka, the new statute requires Emergency Telephone System Boards, which serve a population of less than 25,000, to consolidate into a 911 Authority that meets the population requirement.

Currently, the city’s ETSB is comprised of seven members appointed by Mayor Mike Howley. They are responsible for overseeing the collection and disbursement of 911 surcharge funds.

Vodicka said the statute also requires the reduction of PSAPs by at least 50 per cent or 2 PSAPs, whichever is greater. The city’s Emergency 911 center is designated as a PSAP.

In addition, the statute further requires ETSBs to submit consolidation plans to the State 911 director by July 1, and complete the consolidation process by July 1, 2017.

“Option 1 would be to outsource the City’s 911 dispatching services and possibly shut down the 24/7 operation of the city’s Police Facility,” said Vodicka.

In Option 2, Hickory Hills’ ETSB will merge with other towns on the same radio frequency that utilizes the same Records Management and Computer Aided Dispatch Software. The towns include Justice, Bedford Park, Willow Springs, Summit and possibly Hometown

After listing the costs and benefits involved with the two options, it was Vodicka’s recommendation that Option 2 was the best choice for the city.

Vodicka said later that outsourcing 911 dispatching services was such a minimal savings over time that it didn’t warrant the city making the change.

“The approval to move forward with this action is just the beginning. We now have to move forward with outreach to the other communities and then we will need resolutions drafted and approved. It is a process,” he said.

The regular council meeting followed the Committee of the Whole Meeting.

During the council segment, approval was given to a financial summary presented by City Treasurer Dan Schramm. The summary was a review of the last nine months of the 2015-16 Fiscal Year.

Schramm reported that all city funds are within budget.

Also approved was a $100 donation for Aaron Appliances Open House/Customer Appreciation Day, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, March 11 at 9600 S. Roberts Road. According to Howley, the donation will benefit the Ronald McDonald House and the city will be listed as a sponsor.

Other approvals included a Class E Liquor License for Lacey’s Place at 7831 W. 95th St., and the purchase of a Hawks pick-up truck for $19,000 by the Public Works Department.

Ald. Debbie Ferrero (2nd Ward) announced that business applications for the city’s Street Fair, scheduled for June 25 and 26, will be distributed through The Hills Chamber this year instead of being mailed by the city.

Interested applicants should contact Phyllis Maka, chamber president, at (708) 233-6860.