Vermont lawmakers to hear comment on proposed fee for state police dispatch services

Local News

Three public hearings are set for next week on a proposed fee to be charged to municipalities and local agencies who use Vermont State Police dispatch services.

Currently, there is no charge for the dispatch services offered to about 100 municipalities by Vermont State Police. Other agencies do, however, charge a fee, which according to the Department of Public Safety, creates “inequitable disparities across the state.”

In January, DPS proposed a dispatch fee structure that would set a per-call cost. One concern: medical calls may take longer as dispatch stays on the line to guide the caller. Public Safety Commissioner Mike Schirling says that’s why DPS is proposing a ‘per call’ cost rather than by ‘per minute.’

“What we don’t want to do is create an impetus for people to short the amount of time the dispatcher stays on with somebody because they’re afraid it’s somehow going to adversely impact the number of minutes/dispatch time they get,” Schirling said. “That’s why we stuck with this really simple construct — it’s just the number of calls.”

The fee structure would be phased in over five years, beginning in fiscal year 2022. On-line public hearings are set for:

  • 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19
  • 12 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21
  • 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 22

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