At its Nov. 16 meeting, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners voted to approve an interlocal agreement consolidating 911 services from the City of Asheville and Buncombe County. With this consolidation, Buncombe County will maintain dispatching service to the City of Asheville Fire Department and will expand this service to Asheville Police.
“Through consolidation, we can enhance service provision and ensure our residents have increased access to care and public safety strategies that focus on people first,” said Assistant County Manager DK Wesley. “This consolidation creates a foundation for assuring the most appropriate response to the emergency needs of our residents and visitors while reimagining public safety.”
To effectively manage the call volume, the Commissioners also approved adding 24 full-time positions to the consolidated center and establishing a separate department for 911 communications. The expansion includes 19 telecommunicators, three supervisors, a 911 communications director, and an operations manager. A budget amendment of $1,093,325 was approved to transfer and increase for the FY22 department’s budget. The interlocal agreement includes a six-month cost share of $963,591 to be paid by the City of Asheville based on actual costs.
“This is really the final step to bring all the folks together to create the best model for how we can deliver this critical service to our community in the most efficient manner possible,” said Chairman Brownie Newman.
All current City of Asheville dispatch employees will be transferred to the Buncombe County 911 call center as Buncombe County employees subject to the County’s personnel ordinance and policies. City dispatch staff will be held harmless with regard to pay and benefits and for those who have been with the city for 12 months or more, the 12-month probationary period and required up to 4.5% pay increase after six months will be waived.