Mandan News

Morton County Commission okays increased dispatch system cost

By Leann Eckroth
Lee News

The Morton County Commission on Monday agreed to pay more for an emergency dispatch system linked to a Bismarck system for firefighters and ambulance services.

Cost for the system increased from $15,000 to $20,180. The county’s share increased from $11,250 to $12,390.

Emergency Manager Tom Doering said the firefighters and ambulance services have been using the computer-aided dispatch system since March 24. Law enforcement from the county and city of Mandan won’t be able to go on the system until they switch to a records management system that matches the same program, Doering said. He said there were unforeseen costs in starting up the new system in Morton County.

The CAD system helps dispatchers better locate a fire or emergency to determine which fire units and ambulance crews will respond.

Commissioners increased County Superintendent of Schools Dale Ekstrom’s salary by 5 percent after his six-month probationary period ended. Ekstrom was hired at $24,000 per year for 15 hours per week in July 2013. Burleigh and Morton counties ended an agreement to share the superintendent position in June 2013.

Ekstrom acts as administrator for in Little Heart and Sweet Briar schools.

Phone notification
The commission approved a contract with the Code Red company for a phone notification system to alert residents of emergencies. The contract will be for $4,500 per year.

Code Red merged with the county’s existing phone alert company City Watch and will be offering the same notification services.

Commissioners did not approve paying for an automatic phone weather warning system that the company offered for a $9,000 per year. Commissioner Cody Schulz suggested exploring free cellphone applications instead. He didn’t feel the cost justified the benefit.

The commission also agreed to study dispatch procedure.

Commissioner Andy Zachmeier complained law enforcement officers from other jurisdictions were not being transferred to the Morton County Correctional Center when they call local dispatchers. Instead, the officer calling is being told to call the jail directly, he said. Zachmeier is an officer with the Bismarck Police Department.

Not transferring the call slows down an officer trying to locate jail space when there is none at the officer’s jurisdiction, said Zachmeier.