By Mike Kruzman /

A new agreement would allow Livingston County Central Dispatch to assist a smaller, related operation and, in turn, explore a new revenue stream.

9-1-1 Central Dispatch Director Chad Chewning was before the County Board’s Public Safety and Infrastructure and Development Committee, Monday afternoon. He said Livingston County Central Dispatch has been approached by Rockford Ambulance Service in Kent County to consider providing part-time dispatch services between 9pm and 6am, daily. Chewning told Commissioners that this is a pilot program that they have evaluated over the past few months and believe they can support. Livingston County is just providing the personnel. Chewning said it won’t take anything away from local residents.

Rockford Ambulance averages 3-5 calls per night, but only has one staff member of their own at that time, making it difficult if 2 calls come in at once.

Rockford Ambulance will fully cover the equipment costs as well as the dispatch services. The first year of fees will bring $20,000 to Livingston County, with an additional 3% each subsequent year.

Chewning said that funding for dispatch centers is being questioned heavily by the FCC and a program like this plots a course for creating valuable revenue in the future. He said they are comfortable enough with their own staffing levels and the use of Rockford’s system that he believes they could implement the 5-year contract with an optional 2-year extension without it having any negative impact on Livingston County. Having passed through the committee, it will now go before the full Board of Commissioners on a future agenda.