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NY Secretary of State tours consolidated 911 call center

By ANNA MEILER

ORISKANY, N.Y. (WKTV) -- The New York Secretary of State toured an emergency dispatch center in Oriskany on Thursday. It recently consolidated so that all emergency calls from New Hartford, Utica and Oneida County go to one location, in an effort to boost government efficiency and save money.

"I'm just very pleased to be here and to be given an opportunity to see how the grants we made available have made a difference. It's what the governor wants to do and we can only do it with the kind of leadership we've seen here in Oneida County," said New York Secretary of State, Cesar Perales.

Oneida County used a $600,000 Local Government Efficiency Grant to combine the centers. It began operating as a single unit in Jan. 2012.

"We're able to consolidate, we're able to train better, we're able to coordinate and communicate better under one roof," said Oneida County Executive, Anthony Picente. "In the case of Utica, it was the economy of scale like the secretary talked about, because you're able to put firemen back on the street, police on the street that were doing the dispatching at that point so there's significant savings there."

Perales said this center should be used as a model of government efficiency for counties across New York State.

"When they see something like this working and working efficiently, I think it's going to have people coming forward and saying to the state, 'help us do what Oneida County did,'" said Perales.

Local officials say, it will also keep more money in taxpayers' pockets.

"The town of New Hartford alone saved $650,000 in their budget by eliminating that function. So there was a direct saving for those taxpayers and really all taxpayers," said Picente.

"By making the investment today the amount of money that is going to be saved is incalculable today. I can't tell you exactly what it is, but 10 years from now you will see enormous savings. This is an investment in the future and one that, as the county executive pointed out, already improved services, but I think the taxpayers are really going to derive tremendous benefit," said Perales.

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