As we all work to deal with COVID-19, our county and municipalities are forced to continue their essential operations while protecting government employees and facing the additional costs brought on by the pandemic.
The Cape Issues team has continued to meet (remotely) with recent discussions being focused on the state of the county’s physical infrastructure, economic development, workforce development, climate change and education, all with an eye on how residents’ needs are balanced with the cost to maintain and/or improve our situation.
After several studies over many years, the county decided to implement a central dispatch system for emergency services. This decision was based on the proven effectiveness of central dispatch and its projected cost savings for taxpayers.
To date, county agencies, Avalon, Lower Township, Stone Harbor, and Wildwood Crest have opted into the new system operating at the Cape May County Airport.
In a recent conversation, Cape May County Emergency Management Director Martin Pagliughi stated that two more municipalities have expressed interest in joining the system.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has prevented further expansion of the system since the onboarding of new municipalities requires contractors to work on-site to enter municipal data into the central dispatch database, a process that takes about six months per municipality.
When the county decides the COVID-19 restrictions can be relaxed to allow work on growing its central dispatch system, Cape Issues recommends municipal governing bodies take a close look at joining.
While fire and emergency medical services across the county have expressed their support for central dispatch, there has been reluctance from some police chiefs to join. As we all face the fiscal challenges caused by the pandemic, central dispatch and other government consolidation can provide some much-needed taxpayer relief.
Cape Issues was established in 2008 as a non-partisan volunteer group to advocate for the betterment of life in Cape May County, a very broad goal. We have met monthly since and been fortunate to have the support of the Cape May County Herald from the beginning.