By Tim Leeds
The Havre City Council will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 30 to try to resolve differences on a proposed contract for dispatch services.
Hill County has been providing dispatch services for several years although the contract for such services had expired. Havre Chief of Police Mike Shortell said they sent Hill County Sheriff Tim Solomon a copy of a contract to review and come back with figures for the cost of services.
Solomon sent Shortell a letter saying he has some concerns about the contract. He wrote that he feels comfortable that both sides can come to an agreement on the issues, but that if an agreement can't be reached by midnight, June 30, the Sheriff's Office will be forced to cancel dispatch services for the city, not inclusive of 9-1-1, which will still be provided. Solomon said in an interview that the letter was sent to remind the city of the June 30 end of the budget year, by which time they will need to come to an agreement.
Solomon said the contract would have required nearly doubling the current duties for dispatch services, without naming any price. He said he hoped to spur discussion of the issues by reminding the city of the budget deadline. Solomon said at the time of the interview this morning he had received no notice of Tuesday's council meeting.
Shortell said they will meet with their legal counsel at Tuesday's meeting to discuss options. He said the meeting will be primarily to provide everyone with information about the issues involved and the cost of different options, and to try to decide what should be done.
Shortell said the city and county have been talking on these issues, but it is stalled at this point. He said he thinks it is imperative to resolve the issues by the end of June, but that at this time, these decisions will have to be made for the city by the council and Mayor Leonard.
Shortell said all of the possible options to resolve the dispatching issues have both good points and bad points.