Last night’s council meeting

Here are my notes from last night’s meeting:

Computer-Aided Dispatch software – City council heard testimony from various department heads about the value in partnering with 5 other local governments to purchase a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) software system. Stow currently uses a CAD licensed through Kent State University.

The new CAD would be purchased together with Summit County, Akron, Cuyahoga Falls, Fairlawn and Green. Some funds would be derived from grant money specifically for this purpose. Other funds would come from the taxes you pay on your cell phone bill. The balance would come from the communities.

Stow’s share of the implementation costs would be approximately $233K–after reductions for grants and after sharing the costs with our own customers (Tallmadge, Randolph Twp. and Mogadore). Our annual maintenance/licensing costs would be about the same as they are now, which is $75K-$80K.

Could Stow keep using CAD through Kent State, without upgrading? Yes, but it’s not prudent. First, our contract with KSU expires in two years, so there is uncertainty there. Second, KSU will need to upgrade to the new CAD system also, so it’s likely a matter of “when,” not “if,” the upgrade costs are coming.

Third, and most importantly, we should act quickly to get this new, improved technology in the hands of our dispatchers and first responders because of its additional capabilities. The new systems has a lot of technological advances that will quicken 911 response times and improve safety for our first responders (by providing them more information). For a few examples, the new system will (a) suggest the closest police unit to a dispatcher who receives a call, (b) provide building blueprints to a police unit that may be responding to a call (i.e., think room numbers of an elementary school), and (c) have capability for next-generation 911 (whereby residents can sent photos/videos to dispatchers).

Council gave this legislation a first reading last night. If we choose to implement this, we would go live in mid-2020.

Costello Sworn In – Council had the passing of the torch last night, as Jim Costello was sworn in, and Mayor Sara Kline gave her farewell speech. Jim is a conscientious man, who will do a great job filling this office until the new mayor is chosen in November 2018.

Duplex Vote – Council rejected the construction of a duplex on Hibbard. I voted yes, because I believed the law required that vote. But it failed by a 3-3 vote (you need a majority). In my opinion, multifamily should be separated from single-family. But I won’t violate a party’s property rights to reach a desired result. That’s a concept called Rule of Law, which I preach when I speak with high school students. Rule of Law is one of the key principles that separates America from the rest of the world. (For the record, I’m not saying Stow did violate this man’s rights, because I don’t know the rationale of the 3 members who voted “no,” but in my opinion, the law required a “yes.”)

Next meeting – Council will meet next on May 24.