The City of Sedalia, Pettis County and PCAD are on board to establish a joint dispatch that is expected to be in operation by the start of 2021.

First Ward Councilman Tom Oldham detailed the project during a meeting of Sedalia City Council Tuesday night. The vote was seven yes and one absent (First Ward Councilman Jeff Leeman did not attend the meeting), held at the Municipal Building, 2nd and Osage.

The Municipal Building is also where the new central dispatch will be located. In the basement.

“I think this is a milestone for the citizens of Pettis County,” remarked Oldham.

Sedalia Mayor John Kehde noted that the idea of a central dispatch has been an on-going process, which started with a group study and progressed greatly when voters approved a $1 surcharge per month for any device to help pay for joint 911 dispatch services.

“We've come a long a long way,” the mayor said. “It's desperately needed.”

The tax went into effect last October and the county started receiving funds in January.

Randy Kirby

The project is being overseen by Pettis County 911 Coordinator James Thiesen, who attended Tuesday night's meeting.

He noted that setting up a joint communications center will be a four-month long project. He added that a total of 18 dispatchers overall will be employed at the communications center.

City Administrator Kelvin Shaw said this will be a permanent solution and is definitely a long-term agreement.

Two ordinances were required to pass the measure. One was for a joint communications agreement and the other was for an intergovernmental lease agreement.

The fees collected will go to Pettis County and will be separated and operated as a special revenue fund of the County. A five-member board will be established, comprised of the Sheriff, Police Chief, Fire Chief, PCAD Chief and one other person appointed by the Pettis County Commission.

The board will hire a director and mange the operations, it was noted. The County Commission will have veto power over the selection of a director. The director and board will be responsible for working with each agency to reach agreements on the budget, funding and securing the necessary appropriations.

Randy Kirby