Some members of Ravenna City Council are hoping an ordinance to add a dispatcher to the city's police department will appear on tonight's agenda.
The issue was defeated in council's finance committee recently, with Council President Fran Ricciardi breaking the 3-3 tie.
However, Councilman Scott Rainone, who was absent at that meeting, said he would have cast the deciding vote to move the ordinance forward. He said he has reached out to Law Director Frank Cimino to ask if the issue can return to council tonight.
The agenda does not include the measure.
"I would like to see it move forward," Rainone said. "I've been on council for eight years, and I don't remember them voting something down in committee."
The police department has asked council to add a third part-time dispatcher to the city's growing dispatch center. Police Chief Timothy Adkins recently told council's health and safety committee that the dispatch center's call volume has increased dramatically since 2010, when it began to serve fire departments in surrounding townships.
"Our calls have already gone up 66 percent, and we haven't added a soul," Adkins told the panel.
The dispatch center, which traditionally served Ravenna, Rootstown and Charlestown, added the Edinburg, Palmyra, Paris and Deerfield fire departments in a 2010 expansion. Another 600 calls will be added to that, should the department add the Windham Fire Department to its list of clients.
Rainone said the dispatch center is "at the breaking point" now and can't add new clients without increasing staff. Once the note for the improvements to the dispatch center are paid off, he said, the revenue from those departments will support the dispatch activities.
"They're trying to pursue ways to add to our revenue stream so they don't have to ask for money," he said. "We've told the chief to find ways to be innovative."
Earlier in February, council held a work session in which Rainone and council members Frank Seman, Bruce Ribelin, Jack Ferguson and Sharon Spencer indicated their support for the ordinance.
Spencer said she was more comfortable with the proposal after the work session, but came to decide that the city just couldn't afford the extra staff.
"The bottom line is that it is still coming out of the general fund," she said. "We still don't have the money there."
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