North Island 911 service approves 2016 budget

North Island 911 has set its budget for 2016 and finalized a new contract with the City of Campbell River for fire dispatch services.

City Councillor and Strathcona Regional District Director Larry Samson said last week that the corporation has settled on a 2.5 per cent budget increase for this year.

“We’re very pleased to be able to get it down to a 2.5 per cent increase,” said Samson, who sits on the North Island 911 board as a liaison for both city council and the regional district.

Samson told the regional district board at its Wednesday meeting that the Strathcona Regional District’s share of the 911 budget is 17.6 per cent or $400,000.

The corporation also includes the Comox Valley, Mt. Waddington and Alberni-Clayoquot regional districts as well as a part of the Nanaimo Regional District and Powell River Regional District.

Meanwhile, North Island 911 has also signed off on a new contract with the City of Campbell River that offers the corporation a one-year fixed fee agreement.

“North Island 911 is excited about this because what it does is provide long-term certainty,” Samson said.

“It protects the board from any ups and downs, peaks and valleys that happen.

“This is only a one-year agreement but we look forward to the next process which is to enter into a long-term agreement on fixed price,” Samson added.

Thomas Doherty, acting Campbell River fire chief, said the fixed price deal will prevent billing headaches that the corporation has had to deal with in 20 years of partnering with the city for fire dispatch services.

“Variations between the budget estimate received 15 months earlier and actuals invoiced almost a year after funds have been requisitioned from stakeholders have caused difficulties for the NI 911 Corporation,” Doherty said.

“As a result, city staff and NI 911 Corporation staff have worked together to develop a fixed fee contract for 2016, with a view to develop a five-year fixed contract once negotiations with the IAFF (International Association of Fire Fighters) are complete.”

He said the 2016 fixed price for fire dispatch includes an allowance for all known fire dispatch operating costs, and allowance for all costs associated with wage increases this year, and an allowance for a contingency fund.

North Island 911 uses the services of E-Comm to answer all emergency calls and transfer them to the correct agencies.

North Island 911 contracts out RCMP dispatch to Courtenay, while fire dispatch is handled in Campbell River and ambulance dispatch is run out of Victoria.