Officials tour dispatch center; town opposes potential transfer

Several local officials toured a dispatching center in Malone on Tuesday as the Saranac Lake Village Board of Trustees mulls switching to Franklin County 911.

Village Manager John Sweeney, Trustee Allie Pelletieri, and town of Franklin Supervisor Arthur Willman traveled to Malone, where they joined Franklin County Emergency Services Director Ricky Provost for a tour of the dispatching facilities.

According to Sweeney, no decision has been made. The focus of yesterday's visit was to get a better handle on what the county currently provides when it comes to emergency dispatching.

Speaking Tuesday afternoon, Pelletieri said he was impressed with what he saw.

"I found while I was there that the two gentlemen and the people that are working the dispatch center are very professional and very knowledgeable about what they do," he said. "They technology up there is pretty amazing."

When it comes to concern about unfamiliarity with local neighborhoods, Pelletieri says the dispatch center features an array of computer screens hooked up to a precise Global Positioning System.

"If I were to call from my house here, in Saranac Lake, to Malone by dialing 9-1-1, they would, right on there map, pinpoint my house right on School Street," he said.

The St. Armand Town Council has passed a resolution opposing the potential transfer of dispatch services to Franklin County. The towns of Franklin and Harrietstown have passed similar resolutions.

Board members say dispatchers in Malone are unfamiliar with roads and streets in St. Armand, which could lead to delays in the delivery of emergency services.

But Pelletieri says the county's GPS is so exact, it can actually pinpoint nearby fire hydrants, not just streets and addresses.

For Pelletieri, making the switch to county 911 makes sense.

"I see it working, you know?" he said. "I asked about the cost. It's not free - although we don't pay any extra - but everybody pays with a surcharge on their phones. We're all paying for this thing, and we should all be using it."

There is a money savings for the village if it opts to transfer dispatch services to Malone, but village Manager John Sweeney could not be reached for exact figures on Tuesday.

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