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Consolidation is a good thing; blanket consolidation isn't

Does Onondaga County want the towns and village governments to just go away? Probably.

Let's ponder the fiscal pressure from the county regarding a reduction of Skaneateles' share of sales tax.

Take Skaneateles' Dispatch Center as an example. Three years ago, a committee of our peers studied the viability of the local dispatch thoroughly and determined it was an excellent communication model for our rural municipality.

The dispatch center costs the town and village $340,000 -The service is undeniably excellent, personal and comprehensive.

County 911 costs the town and village $748,000

-The service is good, but not personal and limited as far as what you can call about. Translation: you can call the dispatch about anything and they will try to help. Keep 911 calls to emergency only: police, fire, ambulance.

Now define emergency.

It can be very different depending on one's perspective.

The Internet has revolutionized communications, but not as much for the older population that often operates more readily with the communication model before the world wide web was spun. Seniors want to speak with someone, hopefully someone with patience.

Based on the numbers above, using the county's 911 cost the town and village of Skaneateles twice the cost of the more encompassing, personalized dispatch service that really functions as a Skaneateles communications command post 24/7/365.

So by cutting out the local personalized dispatch, we instead pay double for the use of the county's communication system.

I can see why the village's elected officials decided to cut out the dispatch. It does appear to be a duplication of services. Plus, there is a deal on the table that (if accepted) will compensate the long-term dispatch employees with a two to three years of severance pay. And still others could be absorbed into the 911 system for full time employment. The board is able to reduce a significant number from its budget $180,000, while looking out for the long time public servants in the dispatch department.

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