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West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 7 years ago

Winter Garden, Ocoee enter 911-call partnership

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by: Michael Eng Editor and Publisher

WINTER GARDEN — City commissioners approved the authorization of an five-year inter-local agreement that will change the way Ocoee handles its police-dispatching services.

Beginning in July 2015, Ocoee calls will be handled by Winter Garden’s dispatching facilities. Currently, Ocoee calls are managed by Apopka.

Winter Garden Police Chief George Brennan said the change would provide for better service for both municipalities. Brennan said the existing dispatching center would be reconfigured to accommodate the larger staff. The additional employees also will allow the center to operate in three shifts.

Winter Garden already handles dispatching calls for Oakland. Under this agreement, calls from three West Orange municipalities will be routed to the same location and, more importantly, use the same software.

“Oakland, Winter Garden and Ocoee will all be on the same software system and (be able to) exchange information easily,” Brennan said. “Right now, if we start something, and we’re heading into Ocoee, we have to call Apopka and have Apopka relay it to the Ocoee unit. (With the change), our dispatch will be in the same room and just talk to the person on the other side of the room. It’s faster to get to a common channel that way.”

Under the agreement, Ocoee will pay Winter Garden $500,000 for services in the first fiscal year. The money will be used to purchase software for the Ocoee Police Department, add additional employees and train them. The agreement states that for each subsequent year, the cost will not increase by more than 5% each fiscal year. 

“I have to hire a lot of people and get them trained,” Brennan said. “That’s why we can’t start immediately. It’s probably going to be more like July 1 before we can really take them on.”

City Manager Mike Bollhoefer said the agreement would help Winter Garden financially and also give residents better service. Ocoee’s calls will be answered according to existing standards, which include 95% of all calls answered within five seconds; 96% of calls within 7.5 seconds; and 97% within 10 seconds.

“We’ve looked at the numbers very closely, and we looked at what we (will) have to increase our staff by anyway, because of the growth out west, and this is actually better for us financially,” Bollhoefer said. “We’re very confident that it’s not going to be a burden. It’s probably going to be a benefit for us, long-term, financially for the city, overall. Both for coverage and cost-wise, we think it’s better for the residents.”

IOTA SESSIONS

City commissioners also approved the future land-use designation and rezoning of the Iota Sessions residential development.

Iota Sessions is located on about 68 acres east of Avalon Road on the north and south side of SunRidge Boulevard. The project calls for 106 single-family homes on lots no smaller than 65 feet wide and 120 feet deep. Gross density would be 2.6 units per acre. 

Contact Michael Eng at [email protected].

IN OTHER NEWS

• City commissioners approved a developers agreement for phase two of Waterside on John’s Lake. The residential development is located west of County Road 545 on Marsh Road and will include about 2,140 homes and 115,000 square feet of commercial uses.

• The commission approved the annexation of about .24 acres at 1030 Vineland Road into the city. It also changed the parcel’s land-use designation from Orange County R-2 Low Medium Residential to city R-NC Residential-Neighborhood Commercial.

• The City Commission approved the condemnation of the property located at 865 Klondike St., Winter Garden, Florida.

• Commissioners approved the condemnation of the property located at 249 Center St., Winter Garden.

• The commission heard the first reading of an ordinance to rezone about .32 acres at 203 S. Main St., Winter Garden, from R-2 Residential District to R-NC Residential-Neighborhood Commercial District. 

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