End in sight for Carson dispatch controversy

An end is in sight to the city's struggle to find a new computer system for its dispatch center.

On Thursday, city supervisors will be asked to give final approval to a new dispatch system that in December created an emotional rift within city staff over which system to purchase.

The system was estimated to cost $550,000 when the process started, but will cost $707,746. A 15 percent contingency of $106,162 is added to the cost of the new system as well as $97,275 in consulting, training and extra hardware costs.

That bring the total for the new system to $911,183 - about $21,000 short of the system's $932,000 budget.

"The whole team together with our consultants have negotiated long and hard with Tiburon," City Manager John Berkich said. "The costs are very justifiable. This system is stand alone. It will bring state-of-the-art dispatch software to make our new dispatch center functional."

Sheriff's Sgt. Jack Freer, who sits on the city committee dealing with the dispatch system negotiations, said the original price of $550,000 was for a somewhat different system than the one the city hopes to purchase. The new Tiburon system has a five-month installation phase and extra software that the original system didn't have.

"Even back then with that system, we didn't know what the total was going to be," Freer said. "If this were rejected, I have no idea where we would go."

However, even though the city may soon be on its way to installing the new dispatch software, the system is missing two parts that keep it from being a fully integrated computer system.

Freer said the new system will work on its own, but to allow law enforcement information to be shared more efficiently between the sheriff's and district attorney's offices, records management and jail management systems will be needed. They are estimated to cost around $898,500.

Berkich and Freer said those packages will have to compete for funding in future budget sessions. Freer said the sheriff's department is also planning to apply for grants to help fund the extras.

Which computer system to buy for the city's new $600,000 dispatch center building created a heated battle in January between computer users and those monitoring the costs of buying a new system.

The argument centered on two systems, HTE being a cheaper system and Tiburon being more expensive but preferred by dispatch personnel. Supervisors ultimately approved the dispatchers' choice.

The purchase of a new system was never in dispute. Which system to purchase and its price tag, however, caused a huge rift between city personnel, the mayor and board of supervisors.

Dispatch personnel work with antiquated equipment in a converted shed at the sheriff's office and have argued that public safety is at stake if a new system isn't put in immediately.

If you go:

What: Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting

When: Thursday, 8:30 a.m.

Where: the Community Center's Sierra Room, 851 E. William St.


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