Thirteen years ago, the City of Bloomington bolted the joint emergency service dispatch operation known in McLean County as Metcom. That created years of hard feelings from other area governments over the abandoned agreement and the extra cost it created for taxpayers.
Even as recently as 2010, Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner said other stakeholders did not trust the city. Now, Normal City Manager Mark Peterson said there's talk of getting back together.
"A lot of water has gone under the bridge since the Metcom decision. I would use the term merger more than Bloomington joining. They bring assets to the table. We have assets. Maybe we figure out a way to merge in a way that is more efficient and effective, and probably save some money too. Why not?" said Peterson.
Interim Bloomington City Manager Steve Rasmussen said new technology is driving reconsideration of the split.
"There is a new system coming on that is called (the) next generation of 911 in a couple of years. And it may be possible the whole community would move to that instead of each community moving toward its separate new system," said Rasmussen.
Peterson also said one of the causes of the original split in 2005 has disappeared; Normal and Bloomington now use the same basic radio systems.
Peterson said the two communities should advance the talks and involve McLean County government now to get ready for implementation in a couple years.
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