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By Kevin Beese
March 23, 2017
A high-stakes game of poker is being played between Broadview and Maywood officials regarding the dispatching of emergency services.
Both communities are below 25,000 residents so each needs to combine with another dispatch service to comply with a 2015 state law that called for consolidation of smaller services. Broadview has proposed building a new dispatch center to accommodate Maywood and possibly one other community, but wants an agreement with Maywood officials to ensure they are on board before spending the money to build the facility.
Maywood officials are weighing their options and have yet to give approval to merging operations with Broadview.
“We need to push Maywood,” Broadview village attorney Mark Scarlato told his village’s trustees this week. “They are taken the attitude of sitting back and seeing what you bring to the table. We have the attitude that they need to pull their weight.”
Despite objections from Mayor Sherman Jones, Broadview trustees approved having an architect do preliminary work to determine how much the new facility would cost. Jones felt that money should not be spent on the project until the village gets an agreement from Maywood officials.
“I don’t think we should spend taxpayer money on a what-if,” Jones said.
Scarlato said getting a commitment from Maywood would be a huge step in moving the project forward.
“Maywood is kind of taking the position that they are going to sit back and wait to see what we do in regards to the construction, see if it’s feasible,” Scarlato said. “What we’re kind of losing in all this is that Maywood needs to consolidate as much as we need to consolidate. They have the exact same time pressures that we have. They got the same extension that we did.”
Broadview Trustee Kevin McGrier was the only dissenting vote as the Village Board approved hiring FGM Architects Inc. for architectural and engineering services to create the master plan and implementation of a 911 communications center. If FGM is involved in the project until completion, it could net up to $200,000.
Voting in favor of the expenditure were Trustees Tara Brewer, John Ealey, Diane Little and Judy Brown-Marino. Trustee Gwenevere Turner was absent.
Broadview needs to have its new combined facility up and running by December 2018. Broadview has also talked about a possible dispatch center merger with Westchester and Hillside. Combining with Maywood would get Broadview to the 25,000 resident level. It would take both Westchester and Hillside joining Broadview to reach that 25,000 level.
Brown-Marino said the wheels need to be put in motion in order to make the new dispatch center a reality.
“We’ve reason to be confident that we will work something out with Maywood,” Brown-Marino said, “and there are arguments against trying to have Maywood pay for construction.” She said by starting the design phase of the project, there is a good chance that at least one more municipality will join the effort in addition to Maywood.
“So we’re not only talking about a way to maintain our own dispatch in-house that would be much less expensive than taking it to other options with (Cook) County and private contractors,” Brown-Marino said. “We have reason to believe we will actually do much better with this in the long run … I am very comfortable that our best option is to try to do this in-house and attract other municipalities.”
She said rumors that Broadview wants Maywood to participate in the construction costs has been one of the deterrents to an agreement between the two towns being reached.
While discussing their dispatch options last week, Maywood trustees questioned why more wasn’t done to have the combined dispatch center built in Maywood.
“It almost seems like a done deal,” Trustee Ron Rivers said of ongoing talks to have Maywood and Broadview combine operations at the new Broadview facility.
Trustee Antonette “Toni” Dorris said the village needs to be “a leader” when such projects emerge.