A proposed interlocal agreement between the four cities came up during a Feb. 3 special Lakeway City Council meeting. Lakeway and Bee Cave have participated in an interlocal agreement for the Lakeway Police Department dispatch center to provide dispatch services for both cities since 2006, according to a city document.
"We feel like this is great for improving the economy of scale," Lakeway police Chief Todd Radford said, adding all parties involved in the proposed agreement should benefit financially based on cost savings.
City information states the fee structure for each department will be based on the previous year’s usage, for which the city of Lakeway would bill each municipality every April.
“The FY20 budget reveals the maximum estimated total costs for dispatch services to be $756,000,” a city document states. “Based on the call volume/usage numbers for the calendar year of 2019, each department would be responsible for the following, Bee Cave PD 40%, Westlake Hills 15%, Rollingwood PD 5%, and Lakeway PD 40%.”
Those percentages amount to cost estimates of $302,400 each for Bee Cave and Lakeway, $113,400 for West Lake Hills and $37,800 for Rollingwood, according to the city document, which adds Lakeway’s budget stands to shed $109,000 off of its dispatch costs through this arrangement.
Asked about a possibility of liability issues pertaining to slow dispatch service as one example, Radford said there is that possibility, but it essentially means further discussions regarding actions such as adjusting cell phone towers and dispatch logistics are merited. Once the call is dispatched, it is up to the individual police departments to respond expeditiously within their own jurisdictions, he said.
Radford told City Council during the Feb. 3 meeting that adding West Lake Hills and Rollingwood to the interlocal agreement would add 27 calls per day on average to Lakeway’s dispatch center, taking the load from 96 to 123. He also said implementation by March would allow for an initial 18-month interlocal agreement and would carry through to September 2021, but he added an April start time could be acceptable.
"I really like the idea of a partnership and cost sharing and being able to spread the savings," Lakeway Mayor Sandy Cox said.
Council's vote directed the city manager's office to continue pursuing the interlocal agreement among all four cities.