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Fort Lauderdale Temporarily Halts Disruption Of 911 Service

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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – Fort Lauderdale residents needing help will hear a voice on the other end when they call 9-1-1, at least for 30 days.

Narrowly avoiding a shut down, the City of Fort Lauderdale, Broward County and the Broward Sheriff’s Office agreed to split the cost of the dispatch service bill three ways, or$200,000 a piece, to keep it up and running until the end of the month.

Speaking to city and county commissioners, Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti threatened to cut off service at midnight Thursday if the service was not paid for immediately. The service was supposed to be cut off on October 1st, but Sheriff Lamberti extended the deadline until a deal was reached.

“You are creating a very dangerous situation as of midnight and we are prepared to exercise the nuclear option,” Lamberti warned the commissioners.

The three way split the city, county and sheriff’s office agreed to is only a temporary solution, essentially buying city commissioners time to figure out how the city will pay for emergency dispatch services until the end of the 2012 fiscal year.

The money funds the routing of 9-1-1 calls to the 75 person staff at a BSO substation just off Broward Boulevard near Fort Lauderdale.

The shut down threat was apparently a long time coming, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

The county warned city commissioners a year ago that it must start budgeting for it’s own emergency dispatch services. But when the 2012 budget was drawn up, the city insisted that the county was responsible for footing the $5.7 million bill as laid out in a 16 year contract with the county, as well as the state emergency management law.

The city also believes they are not being treated fairly in regards to how other Broward cities are receiving emergency dispatch services. They claim BSO pays to dispatch calls to some cities, like Davie, Hallandale Beach and Lauderhill. The city also says the sheriff’s office charges substantially more money for services compared to others, like Cooper City

“This needs to be a fully equitable solution for all cities not one city at time,” Fort Lauderdale City Manager Lee Feldman said. “Fort Lauderdale should not be singled out.”

Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

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