Lemoore City Council members learn that costs are up for new Police and Fire Dispatch Center

City of Lemoore officials, at their regular council study session Tuesday night, heard from an architectural firm they hired to tell them a new police dispatch center the city wants is probably going to cost more than was originally envisioned.

In September the City Council told staff to get bids the design of a new dispatch center and figure out the total costs. Local police and architects from Darden Architects in Fresno, visited various dispatch centers in hopes of determining the feasibility of designing and funding the city’s proposed dispatch center.

Darden’s Marty Dietz, the firm’s lead architect, told councilmembers that based on its preliminary investigations, it concluded that it would be advisable to plan and build the dispatch center as a stand-alone addition to the existing police department.

“We thought the best approach would be to build a small stand-alone dispatch center,” he said.

Darden Architects believe this approach would be the option that is least disruptive to ongoing operations, is code compliant, and provide the best value to the City. This addition would also provide more anticipated space needs per dollars spent, an added value when compared to renovations to the existing facility. The site is large enough to allow space for the needed expansion.

This project also addresses some needed site improvements to safety, security and access. The installation of automatic vehicle security gates, a radio communication tower and replacement of the existing army surplus emergency power generator with a new emergency generator with an automatic transfer switch would be included. The existing electrical infrastructure, transformer and existing switchgear will be utilized as much as possible to minimize costs. Dietz presented councilmembers with a proposed budget of $1,998, 000 to build and equip the facility. The city currently has $1.42 million budgeted for a dispatch center.

“We’re already over budget from the original design,” said Chief Darrell Smith.

Smith also dropped a bombshell on councilmembers when he revealed the ongoing costs for running the center, including the costs of at least 10 dispatchers, training, would add approximately $606,000 annually to the cost of the public safety budget. The city is currently paying $415,000 per year to the City of Hanford for police and fire dispatch services.

Smith said additional sources for funding are being investigated.

Lemoore police officers responded to 32,119 calls last year while fire services received 3,100 calls for service.

City staff will proceed, investigate additional costs and bring a proposal back to the council in June.

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