YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Mahoning County Commissioners formed a new government organization with Austintown and Boardman Thursday, without public comment or hearings.
A new Council of Governments will run the 911 system for those three agencies.
Within two years, the Mahoning County 911 center will close and dispatchers will move to Austintown and Boardman. Those two centers will handle centers in dispatching for the Mahoning County Sherriff’s office and most of the surrounding county.
Commissioners kept a tight lid on the new Council of Governments 911 answering agreement. They went so far as to keep people from speaking about the plan that they suspended public comment at today’s meeting.
Sheriff Jerry Greene said it’s because there’s nothing to debate.
“We all knew that this was a home run. Public hearings on it? What are we going to talk about? You don’t want to save three or hour hundred thousand dollars? You don’t want a better answering? This was a no-brainer for all three governments,” Greene said.
The state of Ohio says Mahoning County must cut down to three 911 answering centers by 2018. There are eight of those answering centers right now.
Greene said the move will save the three governments hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.
“Better system, better coverage, safer for our officers, cost effective, I could go on and on the benefits of this,” Greene said.
The sheriff said this will also make the system safer for officers. Right now, deputies can’t use their handheld radios in some of the farther reaches of the county.
However, the move will mean more work for dispatchers.
“Now again we’re going to ask our employees to learn something new. Learn the county part of it. And the county employees, when they come, they”re going to have to learn the Boardman and Austintown part of it,” Boardman Police Chief Jack Nichols said.
The following areas will have their 911 calls performed by the two centers in Austintown and Boardman by 2018:
- Mahoning County Sheriff Office
- Berlin Township
- Canfield Township
- Craig Beach
- Ellsworth Township
- Milton Township
- Green Township
- Jackson Township
- Goshen Township
- Mahoning County Coroner
- Mahoning County Dog Warden
- Mahoning County EMA
- New Middletown
- Poland Village
- Poland Township
- Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office