A board discussion that took place at the January 24 Protective Services Committee meeting talked about possible changes to 911 emergency dispatch funding.
The regional district’s 911 service was established in 1989, and at the time the bylaw that established the service provided that costs would be apportioned among the participating areas on the basis of converted assessed value of improvements.
Part of the discussion on January 24 involved the possibility of changing the cost structure from one of the above mentioned “assessed values” method to one based on a “user fee” concept, where areas would pay based on call volume per centage.
Planetworks Consultants original study two years ago recommended that the regional district look at other dispatch services than Penticton to provide the basic 911 service; something the board did in 2011. Planetworks also recommended looking at a different funding model.
Noting that the 911 service was “ fairly serious business,” and that it was a regional service, Chief Administrative Officer Bill Newell reminded the board that a change in funding method would require two thirds weighted majority of the board or assent by each jurisdiction.
The board was nearly unanimous in their decision to maintain the status quo, the primary argument being the realization that 911 service was not really “user pay.” Board members understood that 911 call volume tended to come from larger population centres, and that many 911 calls in the electoral areas were made on behalf of the travelling public