Letter To The Editor: Dispatch, Yes


To the Editor,

How Manchester handles its dispatching services has been the subject of discussion for nearly 15 years!  It’s a welcome sign that this current Board of Selectmen will finally be making a decision on how to go forward.

We have two choices before us—to keep dispatch services local or to outsource those services to the Regional Dispatch Center in Middleton.   In either case, our professional and experienced emergency response personnel who have served us well over the years will remain the same. What will change is not how Manchester responds to a 911 call, but rather how that 911 call is delivered to Manchester.  Staying local, our dispatchers will receive the 911 call and set in motion the proper response to that call.  Going to regional dispatch in Middleton, that same emergency call will be answered and directed to the Manchester Police or Fire Department which in turn will respond to the emergency.   The difference between the two systems essentially comes down to efficiency of operation and costs of providing that service.

Regional dispatch in Middleton has state of the art technology, staffing capacity to handle simultaneous emergency calls, and will have significantly less financial impact on our residents. It is anticipated that over a seven-year period, Manchester’s costs will be about. $1.3 million if we were to join the Regional Dispatch operations.   

Keeping dispatch operations local will require costly technology upgrades, increased personnel, and the creation of a safe lobby—all of this at Manchester’s expense.  These costs estimated over a seven-year period are anticipated to be about $5.27 million.  Based on those numbers, the overall savings in a seven-year period would be nearly $4.5 million!

Many Manchester residents are justifiably concerned about school personnel and curriculum cutbacks that are being made in order to keep the school budget within Finance Committee guidelines.  Other residents are concerned about the lack of adequate and affordable housing which is a reason why we are now dealing with a contentious 40B project.  We have significant infrastructure issues. Our roads continue to need upgrading.  We need a Senior Center.   We need more playing fields.  We must address climate change challenges.  The list goes on!! 

Perhaps the very significant savings realized by outsourcing our dispatch services to the Regional Center in Middleton will create budget surpluses annually which will allow us to address these concerns without adding to taxpayer burden.

To me, the choice is obvious. 

I urge voters to support moving our dispatching services to the Regional 911 Dispatch Center.  Vote YES on Tuesday May 17.


Sue Thorne


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