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updated: 8/20/2014 12:57 PM

Trustees, residents want to settle Wauconda 911 dispatch center issue

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  • Wauconda dispatcher Wauconda officials are considering plans to close the 911 center at the police station.

       Wauconda dispatcher Wauconda officials are considering plans to close the 911 center at the police station.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Doug Maxeiner

      Doug Maxeiner


Week after week, a small group of like-minded activists have attended Wauconda village board meetings and complained about the unresolved proposal to outsource 911 services.

Now some trustees are adding their voices to the choir, saying the issue has percolated long enough.

At Tuesday's board meeting, Trustee Linda Starkey said she wants to see Village Administrator Doug Maxeiner's long-awaited report on the dispatch center's future at the Sept. 2 session.

"I think it has dragged on too long," Starkey said. "I think the board should make a decision."

Trustee Teri Burke agreed, as did Trustee Lincoln Knight.

"We need to get going here," Knight said.

Wauconda voters were promised the service wouldn't be outsourced when they approved a tax increase for the fire protection district in 2010. However, Mayor Frank Bart repeatedly criticized the referendum and those promises when he ran for office last year and during the first year of his term.

Earlier this year, Maxeiner proposed outsourcing 911 services to Lake Zurich. He's said it could save Wauconda $2.1 million over five years.

It also would leave the town's dispatchers out of work.

Critics have expressed fears about the level of service out-of-town dispatchers would provide, among other issues.

At a public meeting in March, trustees said they had many questions that needed answers before they could vote on the plan.

They're still waiting for answers. So is the public.

"I am frustrated with this process," resident Dirk Leahy said during Tuesday's meeting.

Local business owner Maria Weisbruch asked about the dispatchers, too. So did Kelly Kledzik, daughter of ex-mayor Mark Knigge.

"This town has been suffering and the workers have been suffering for almost a year now," Kledzik said.

Leahy is concerned some dispatchers have quit rather than waiting for the board to take action one way or the other.

"We can't lose these workers," Leahy said.

Maxeiner said he's waiting for information from "outside sources" to finish his report. He didn't identify the sources.

Maxeiner bristled when audience members pressed officials about the plan.

"I'm not prepared to get into an interrogation on the 911 center tonight," Maxeiner said. "It doesn't do any good to bring it back before it's ready."

Trustee Chuck Black told the crowd it's important for officials to look at both sides of the issue before they vote. If they don't, he said, "we're not doing our jobs as trustees."

But residents aren't the only people tired of waiting for the report.

"We're tired, too," Knight said.

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