-By Seth Daniel
City leaders in Revere have taken the first step towards a combined 9-1-1 dispatch center with the Town of Winthrop, approving an agreement between the two municipalities on Monday night.
The Revere City Council voted 10-0 to approve a preliminary agreement between Revere and Winthrop for the operation of the combined dispatch center, which will be housed at the Revere Public Safety Facility on Revere Beach Parkway.
It is the first step in the process, and one that the Winthrop Town Council is currently considering and is believed to be looking on favorably.
Revere Mayor Tom Ambrosino said that the facility will still not be operational for another year, as logistical problems and computer issues must still be ironed out in both municipalities.
“If we can get this up by July 2010, then we’ve really done something,” he said.
Winthrop Town Manager Jim McKenna said that this is a real win for Winthrop, and that he hopes the Town Council will vote favorably on these beginning agreements.
“It should come out of the Town Council at least in sufficient time for us to be ready by the end of the fiscal year,” he said. “We’re excited about this. It’s the way of the future and this is the way things have to go…Winthrop would really never have had the ability to implement that level of sophistication to produce emergency medical responses if it were to try and do this on its own.”
He said that by combining efforts, Winthrop and Revere would be able to offer their residents a professional 9-1-1 dispatch center run and staffed by trained emergency dispatchers.
Both cities lack professional dispatch systems now.
Revere City Councillors were all on board Monday night.
Councillor Dan Rizzo said these cooperative efforts have to happen.
“We’re going to have to embrace regionalization as we go forward,” he said. “These budgets aren’t going to get much better…We have to provide the services we have been for less money. That’s just the bottom line.”
Added Councillor Bob Haas, “It’s one of the moves that really makes sense now, especially with such lean budgets.”
By combining their efforts, the new dispatch center would qualify for millions of dollars in state grants – much of which would reimburse the two for a computer software system that has already been contracted and purchased.
The City of Chelsea was originally a partner in the effort, but they backed out a few months ago.