February 12, 2016

Voters to decide on Central Dispatch millage


STANDISH — The Arenac County Central Dispatch is looking for voters to renew its millage at its current level of 0.8 mills in the upcoming primary election Aug. 3.

The millage is currently operating at the maximum amount of 0.8 mills and Central Dispatch Director Steve Wuelfing said for the dispatch to continue operating as it is, they will need the millage.

“Central Dispatch can be funded different ways. Arenac County is funded through a surcharge and a millage,” he said. “Our surcharge is the third lowest in the state.”

Wuelfing said because the surcharge, which is 32 cents a month, is so low, the county needs the millage for operational costs. He estimated that if the millage is renewed at 0.8 mills it would generate around $427,000.

“We will levy whatever we don’t need,” he said. “We will only collect what is necessary and the rest will stay in the taxpayer’s pocket.”

Wuelfing said because of the millage, Central Dispatch has been able to fund upgrades and keep equipment going. He said it was because of funding from the last millage that Central Dispatch was able to purchase a new system.

“Our old system we had was out of date,” Wuelfing said. “Because it was so old, we had to keep parts on loan from Ohio. We were down to our last power supply.”

He said Central Dispatch was able to add a new dispatching position and instantly take calls.

Wuelfing said Arenac County is unique because it has a freeway, railroad, and the Great Lakes. He added that these are reasons that having a Central Dispatch is so important.

“Emergency calls begin at Central Dispatch,” he said. “We need good equipment and qualified individuals to handle it.”

According information released by Arenac County Central Dispatch, in 2009 Central Dispatch logged 13,987 requests for assistance, and so far this year, as of July, more than 8,000 requests have been logged.

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