Worthington deemed best site for PSAP facilityWORTHINGTON — A site feasibility study by G.J. Therkelsen and Associates named Worthington as the most suitable site for a consolidated regional dispatch center, but states the existing facility poses significant challenges to growth beyond the four counties now studying the issue.
WORTHINGTON — A site feasibility study by G.J. Therkelsen and Associates named Worthington as the most suitable site for a consolidated regional dispatch center, but states the existing facility poses significant challenges to growth beyond the four counties now studying the issue.
A backup site for an alternate Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) would be more suitable to Cottonwood County than the current Murray County facility, the report states.
The electronic equipment room is overcrowded and has no room for an additional required system, the report states regarding the Murray County facility, and is not suitable for Next Generation 911 equipment.
The consoles at the Prairie Justice Center in Worthington are small and the space will not support more than four work stations, but the current dispatch is adequately served with electrical power that includes emergency generation and an uninterrupted power supply.
Murray County Commissioner Bob Moline once again brought up building a stand-alone facility, stating maybe more counties would be willing to come to the table.
“We’ve talked about this at the last two meetings, and now are going backward again,” said Rock County Sheriff Evan Verbrugge. “We are never going to get anywhere.”
Rock County Administrator Kyle Oldre, who is overseeing the group until a committee is officially in place, asked the county commissioners, administrators and law enforcement personnel in the group to do a bit of homework before the next meeting.
“Go back to your counties and have two representatives appointed to the joint powers,” he stated, adding that at least one of the representatives needs to be a commissioner, but the second could be a law enforcement officer.
Oldre stated he wasn’t sure where the group was on a facility discussion causing a hush over the room until Nobles County Sheriff Kent Wilkening spoke up.
“Murray County, if you want to build a building, go start digging holes or expanding and moving walls,” he stated. “But right now we have no option but to move forward and move (regional dispatch) into this building.”
“I think we had provided due diligence to exploring the options,” Oldre said. “There are no variations left to look into. By consensus, is site selection going to be Nobles County?”
Hearing no objections, he claimed that as a “yes.”
The group heard from attorney Ann Goering, who spoke about setting up a joint powers agreement. Later in the discussion, it was advised to get an interim agreement in place. Oldre said he would contact Goering about having a draft written.
“You can draft it up, but I can’t promise what will happen when I bring it to my board,” said Cottonwood County Commissioner Gary Sorenson, while other commissioners nodded.
G.J. Therkelsen and Associates was asked to come up with more concrete numbers regarding operations costs, staffing needs and leasing amounts.
Jackie Mines, 911 program director for Minnesota, and Shawn Larsen, president of American Communications Inc., were both on hand to discuss NextGen911, an advancement in the current E911 system, and answer any questions.
Oldre summed up the long meeting by making a simple statement regarding the difficult process of bringing several counties together to share dispatch services.
“Doing nothing would have been easy,” he said. “But there has been lots of give and take, and the level of professionalism being displayed and the open-minded approach have been wonderful. We have the potential here to do what is right for our constituents.”