Dunwoody officials have been hammering out an agreement with DeKalb County to continue 911 service for the city’s police calls.
However, the apparent movement toward an enhanced 911 service with DeKalb took a turn at the Dunwoody City Council’s work session Jan. 18.
City Manager Warren Hutmacher told the council he planned to talk to officials from ChatComm in the next several days about, potentially, getting a better price for the ChatComm service.
ChatComm is a joint venture between Sandy Springs and Johns Creek, which handles 911 calls in each municipality.
Hutmacher has recommended to the council that it enter into an agreement with ChatComm using the more than $1 million in annual revenue the city is entitled to from cell phone and telephone user fees.
However, the council’s decision about whether to join ChatComm, stay with DeKalb County, or start up a Dunwoody service has dragged on for months.
In recent weeks, a council subcommittee has renewed negotiations with DeKalb County.
Enhanced service with DeKalb County would guarantee that the city would pay no more for the service than it currently does. Joining ChatComm or starting up a Dunwoody 911 service has inherent financial risks.
Dunwoody has only estimates about its share of 911 user fees because it does not currently collect the fees. DeKalb County does and reaps them from all county residents, making it difficult for Dunwoody officials to know exactly what they would receive if they broke away from DeKalb’s 911 service.
Under an outline of an agreement with DeKalb, the county would provide better service than what it now receives from the county, including dedicated dispatchers, a police channel that would handle only Dunwoody police calls and a quarterly forum to open lines of communication between Dunwoody and DeKalb.
Police Chief Billy Grogan said Jan. 18 that ChatComm offers services that DeKalb County cannot. For example, with ChatComm Sandy Springs and Dunwoody police officers could be dispatched to emergency situations based on which police unit is closest.
Councilman Danny Ross pushed for a vote on the issue Jan. 24, at the city’s regular council meeting. It is not clear if the issue will come to a vote at that time.