Sedgwick County will take over 911 service for the cities of Derby and Haysville starting next year, commissioners decided Wednesday, saying it was a matter of fairness.
Derby and Haysville contended that residents there pay county 911 taxes on home and cell phone bills, and that the cities should not have to provide 911 service separately.
The county's emergency communications center already provides service to 16 other cities in the county, including Wichita, and dispatches EMS to Derby and Haysville.
Under the plan, the county will dispatch Derby police and fire and Haysville police. Haysville already is part of the county's Fire District 1.
The county will hire two people to cover the consolidation, even though one 24/7 dispatch position translates into five full-time employees. County officials had planned to combine two part-time positions and hire four full-time people, but after pressure from commissioners, found a way to finagle staffing and add only two positions.
Commissioner Richard Ranzau thanked public safety director Bob Lamkey for finding a way for the county to not have to add four employees.
He said he will be pushing for a "zero-sum game" any time the county must add staff. Ranzau, who ran his campaign largely on a platform of reducing government and spending, said that if the county adds staff or increases spending in one area, it should find a way to cut in another area.
Ranzau said he could support the consolidation as an equity issue.
Lamkey said consolidating the services was a "win for taxpayers."