Hermiston considers consolidating dispatch center with Umatilla County

The Hermiston City Council is thinking about consolidating the city's emergency dispatch services with Umatilla County's dispatch services, which are run out of Pendleton.

City leaders are considering the move because it could save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars.

However, the move will mean a couple positions will be cut.

Right now, seven people work at the dispatch center in Hermiston.

If the move is approved, three of those employees would move to the county's dispatch center, two employees would continue to work for the city as records management specialists, and the other two positions would be eliminated.

City leaders say the amount of calls the dispatch center in Hermiston receives is growing, so if they don't consolidate the two centers, the city will need to hire a new dispatcher and buy new equipment.

They say if they can consolidate, it will save the city $350,000 next fiscal year.

"The dispatch budget is getting to be a sizable portion of the city's general fund, and that's taking up and allocating a lot of funds directly for that. And so this represents a substantial cost savings to the city" said Mark Morgan, city of Hermiston.

"This could potentially go to other departments, or pay for other things throughout the city?" we asked.

"Yeah" said Morgan.

After the next fiscal year, Morgan says the city would save about $250,000 every year after that if the dispatch centers are consolidated.

The city council plans to make a decision on the issue at its regular meeting next month, on August 12th.

The city of Pendleton consolidated its dispatch services in 2002.

City leaders say there were some growing pains for the first month, but after that - no problems.

Hermiston leaders believe the transitional process would be similar.