Four years ago, a citizens committee called the continued funding and operation of the town’s 911 dispatch center “senseless and irresponsible” due to the fact that its services mirrored those provided by Oneida County.We have far too much government around here, so I could not agree more that consolidation would be a good thing. Personally, I'm not sold that a consolidation with Oneida County 911 would be preferable to a consolidation of all Greater Utica Police, Fire and Emergency Services into one agency. . . but the public is not ready for that yet. The talk in today's column was Utica and New Hartford joining OC 911, which would raise OC911 operating costs by $1 million . . . . and here's where it got interesting . . . .
All residents in Oneida County pay a 35-cent surcharge to support the county dispatch center as part of their monthly phone bill. County officials have said that if a merger took place, they would charge a new fee to Utica and New Hartford, but not to the municipalities that already use the county center.Whoa! "Charging the other municipalities wouldn’t be fair because they haven’t had to pay in the past" ??? What about charging Utica and New Hartford residents the last 14 years for a service that they did not receive? What about charging Utica and New Hartford residents to subsidize cheap services to Rome and the rest of the county? This is OC "fairness!" This is the OC "Regionalization" Double Standard that Uticans have come to know and "love." It's kind of nice to see New Hartford in the same boat as Utica for a change.
Charging the other municipalities wouldn’t be fair because they haven’t had to pay in the past, and Utica and New Hartford previously made decisions to keep operating separate centers, Picente said.
Now Mr. Picente proposes a "new fee" for Utica and New Hartford that other municipalities won't have ... Doesn't that make you feel great???? Makes me feel really special.
Frankly, I do not see how the County could legally discriminate against Utica and New Hartford. But maybe raising more money for OC911 isn't the object of the "new fee."
We all know how much the County LOVES its "economic engine" New Hartford even to the point of giving it a six-figure "gift" a few months back. . . . or is it really love for certain politically connected individuals? Could the "poison pill" new fee be calculated to discourage consolidation to preserve patronage jobs? Or to keep the cheap Utica-NH subsidized OC911 services going for the folks in Rome. Who knows? The good part of this story:Hopefully the PEOPLE of New Hartford and Utica now realize that they will have no future in Oneida County unless they start sticking together.
NH Online has more.