Winchester Council OKs Spillman dispatch program

By BILL RICHMOND, City editor

 

Winchester City Council Monday approved the purchase of a Spillman Technologies emergency dispatch program that would allow public safety interoperability with county dispatch.

Mayor Croyle said the program will also allow officers to do paperwork from patrol cars on laptop computers.

“Although this takes an officer out of service,” Croyle said, “it allows the officer to maintain his public presence which serves as a deterrent.”

The program will cost the city $50,000 down and an additional $90,000 to be paid over five years with zero percent interest. The cost includes employee training and a 5-year maintenance agreement.

Winchester Police Chief Mike Burk said the program will create greater efficiency for the force.

“We're anticipating some budget savings due to consolidation that will help to absorb a part of this cost,” Croyle said.

He said Winchester's involvement in dispatch consolidation will begin soon upon council's authorization. He said consolidation will happen by “mid-year, maybe the first of April or March.”

“I think we've got some very good dispatchers and I hate to see them go, but it's just a sign of the time,” Croyle said. “The city has three dispatchers full-time. That hiring process (for the consolidated dispatch service) will be done through the county and I don't know what their wishes are.”

Council discussed a proposed ordinance to establish an employee sick days bank. The ordinance would allow city employees who have sick days that are about to expire to bank them so they can be used by another employee who perhaps has used up his or her paid time off.

“I think it's a good asset for employees to help another employee to get through hard times,” said City Street Superintendent Mike Henry.

Councilman Bill Peden said some employees recklessly use up their paid time off and may abuse the system and take advantage of others.

Clerk-Treasurer Vicki Haney said the reason for considering the ordinance is the State Board of Accounts wants the city to have a plan on record if it is going to take such steps, even on a rare occasion. She said the city has done it before, but she's not in favor of doing it again (unless an ordinance is established) and risking trouble from the State Board of Accounts.

Cockerill suggested an addition to the city employee handbook stating that if a person has exhausted their time, they can apply to the sick leave bank and another person can donate to the bank at that time if they so desire on an as-needed basis.

“I'm all in favor of responsible decisions by employees at their choice,” Peden said.

It was agreed that Cockerill will write up an ordinance detailing his suggestion for consideration at a future council meeting.

Council approved the second and third readings of an amended ordinance to accept an updated street inventory list. The new list includes several roads that were recently established, including DeGuise Place, Symmes Center Drive, Tomasco Drive, Vision Parkway and Cable Street – as well as others.

Croyle said the greater the number of miles of city streets on the inventory list, the more money the city receives from the state in State Motor Vehicle Highway funding for street repairs and paving.

Council also approved an ordinance to vacate the right of way for a portion of Elm Street in Fairdale Subdivision. The segment of the street under consideration is grown over and no longer identifiable as a roadway.

The city maintains utility rights. Cockerill said the street vacation is goes into effect immediately upon approval.

The meeting was preceded by a brief reorganizational session in which Todd Schroeder was reappointed council president and Cockerill was reappointed as city attorney.