EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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October 29, 2013

Panel recommends not charging county fee

Study panel, commissioners clash

(Continued)

The towns were told they would have to pay $1 per resident for police dispatch services and 50 cents per person for fire dispatch services on an annual basis.Towns using both services would pay $1.25 per resident.

Downing informed commissioners in January that the center and its 14-year-old console needed major improvements and could no longer receive adequate technical support.

The town representatives, including state Rep. Kenneth Weyler, R-Kingston, said they were already paying enough money through the county tax. Weyler is chairman of the eight-member study panel.

Paying the annual fee would would be tantamount to taxing communities twice for the same service, they said.

Last month, commissioners said they would drop the annual fee for this year but did not rule it out for next year. Pratt also said a proposal to assess a one-time drew a much more favorable response from town officials and lawmakers.

But when the study panel announced its recommendation to the commission Friday, Coyle said it was a bit irritating.

“They don’t want to pay for it,” he said.

Weyler said all 36 communities in the county would contribute to the capital improvements fund — a concept that drew harsh criticism from Coyle.

Coyle said large communities such as Derry and Londonderry should not be asked to pay for the improvements because they are not able to use the dispatch center.

Both those towns must operate their dispatch centers, otherwise the number of the calls they handle would overwhelm the county service, he said.

The service mostly benefits small towns, such as Kingston, which Coyle said do not want to pay for the improvements.

“If you are going to use the service, you should pay for it,” he said.

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