After more than a year of research and meetings, communities in Winnebago County have come together to combine 911 emergency services.
The new partnership was announced on Monday.
Winnebago County announced they were discontinuing their 911 services 18 months ago due to budget cuts, and work began to see how the surrounding villages could consolidate through a third party.
Mayors from Durand, Roscoe, Pecatonica, South Beloit, Cherry Valley, Rockton, Winnebago, Machesney Park and Loves Park formed a new coalition.
“This is an effort to save money and get everybody to have a say, but they all participate in paying,” Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana said at a press conference on Monday afternoon.
The new governing board will be created in order to address 911 services throughout the county.
“At the insistance of the coalition, a study was commissioned and the results show that keeping the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office and initiating a board, consisting of members of the participating committees, was a better solution for all the municipalities involved,” Caruana said.
“Each community will pay a fair share to support the service and each will have a voice in the governance of the operation, while the Sheriff will continue to direct day-to-day operations,” Caruana continued.
Loves Park Mayor Greg Jury said, “Based on the conversations that we had with the police chiefs around the county, and Sheriff Caruana, I think we put together a very good plan and we’re all ready to move forward with this and put the past behind us.”
Each municipality will pay a portion of the nearly $2 million-a-year cost. Winnebago County will pick up a majority of the tab, and the rest will be divided among the nine participants, in an amount to be determined based on call volume and dispatches.
“They are paying for the dispatch. We’re paying for the call taking,” Caruana said. “I will still run the day-to-day operations, though. They’ll create a board of coalitions of mayors which they’re paying, so they should have a say.”
Those involved say the board will change as needed and there is room for more cities to join the operations.
The City of Rockford has its own 911 services through the Rockford Fire Department.