Kalamazoo Voters Reject Phone Fee to Fund Consolidated Dispatch

May 3, 2017

Supporters of a fee to pay for consolidated 911 dispatch in Kalamazoo County watch election results Tuesday night.
Credit Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Supporters of a unified 911 dispatch system in Kalamazoo County say consolidation will go on, despite the defeat of a proposal on Tuesday that would have paid for it.

About 62 percent of people who cast ballots in the May 2 election in Kalamazoo said ‘no’ to a monthly $2.30 phone surcharge. The fee would have paid for a countywide, single dispatch system for 10 years.

Kalamazoo County Sheriff Rick Fuller says he was sorry to see the proposal fail. But he says the rejection won’t stop the plan to turn Kalamazoo’s five 911 services into a single authority.

“There’s always had to have been a plan B in case the citizens weren’t able to give us the surcharge for this. And likely it’s going to be something out of the general fund dollars that we currently spend,” Fuller said on Tuesday.

Fuller says the effort to consolidate Kalamazoo’s dispatch centers has come too far to fold over the rejection.

“So we will continue our education piece, we go forward with our consolidation, and we work to make our system better. Because remember, shaving seconds saves lives,” he said.

Fuller added that the dispatch authority could ask for a phone surcharge again in a later election.