He said the cost increase was based on call volume, and the need to add more personnel at the central dispatch office.
“I had to give up three part-time employees to get three full-time employees,” Richvalsky told Pell City officials.
He said currently central dispatch employs 17 full-time employees and seven part-time workers.
Richvalsky said St. Clair County has about 60,000 residents compared to Calhoun County, which has about 88,000 residents.
“Calhoun County has 17 employs per shift,” he said. “I’m doing it with 4-5 employees per shift…I don’t want to get under 4-5 people or it’s awful.”
He said central dispatch receives about 375,000 calls a year.
“We don’t want to miss any calls,” Richvalsky said. “Last year we had about 150,000 actual calls that someone went out on.”
In addition to taking emergency calls, emergency operators dispatch police and run NCIC (National Crime Information Center) checks for municipalities.
“Our biggest expense is salaries,” he said, adding that there are no grants available to help subsidize salaries, only for equipment.
Pell City Police Chief Greg Turley told the council that E-911 dispatch center had “great dispatchers.”
“Right now, we can’t do the same service for a lower cost,” Turley told the mayor and council.
Last year the city paid central dispatch $142,354 for E-911 services.
Richvalsky asked the council for a 10-percent increase, which is the cap for annual fee increases for municipalities. Next fiscal year cost, which begins Oct. 1, and ends Sept. 31, 2014, is $156,589 for Pell City.
Mayor Joe Funderburg said the city’s and county’s populations continue to grow.
“It’s only natural, the needs are going to be greater,” Mayor Joe Funderburg said of the increase costs for central dispatch services.