EUSTIS, Fla. (Aug. 12, 2019) The Eustis City Commission will consider a proposed contract with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) to provide police dispatching services in lieu of the Eustis Police Department continuing to provide this service. The consolidated dispatch service is expected to enhance citizen and officer safety and result in significant cost savings to the City.
By having all citizen calls for police service centralized in a large, modern communications center, miscommunication is reduced between what is today, two separate dispatching centers located several miles from each other. When the dispatching is provided by the LCSO, misdirected citizen calls for service are more quickly resolved and a better coordinated police response will result. All calls for Fire and Emergency Medical Service in the City of Eustis have been dispatched through Lake County for over 15 years. The same quality service provided to citizens for fire service, shall be experienced for police services. The LCSO currently provides police dispatching for Clermont, Tavares, Umatilla, Lady Lake, Howey-in the Hills, Astatula, Fruitland Park and Mascotte.
The City of Eustis anticipates a cost savings of approximately $248,000 in annual operating expenses above the cost for the services provided by the Sheriff’s Office. In addition, the City Police Department was also facing additional costs of approximately $128,000 to upgrade the existing equipment and technology if the City were to retain dispatching services and not contract with the LCSO.
Although the consolidation of dispatching services will result in the layoff of all current Eustis Communication Officers, the City has advised the affected employees they will be considered for other positions within the City, if they are interested. The LCSO has also offered employment to the employees if they wish to apply as dispatchers. Eustis has coordinated with the LCSO to expedite the application process to eliminate any gap in the individuals’ employment. The City has offered a generous severance package to each employee if they continue to perform their duties as a Eustis Communications Officer through the transition period that is expected to end on or about October 19, 2019. The severance package includes 240 hours of severance pay; paid medical insurance through December 31, 2019 if they are not otherwise insured; payment for accrued sick and vacation leave according to City policy; and Human Resources assistance in seeking employment elsewhere, resume development and job interview skills. Employees will retain retirement savings in their 401(a) deferred compensation plan or continue to receive a pension under the Florida Retirement System.
The Eustis City Commission will consider this issue at the regular City Commission Meeting scheduled for September 5, 2019 at 6:00PM.