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The payment spat between the City of Racine and Racine County over joint dispatch payments and staffing levels is headed to mediation.

City officials held back two quarterly payments in 2014 totaling more than $700,000 because they said staffing levels at the joint dispatch center fell below contractually required levels. City payments total $350,474.75 each quarter.

Racine and the villages of Caledonia, Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant in 2010 entered into an agreement with the county for joint emergency dispatch services. Under the terms of the contract, each community makes a quarterly payment for 10 years; on the first of January, April, July and October.

City of Racine Mayor John Dickert wants taxpayers across the county reimbursed for what he says are overpayments to the county joint dispatch center. He says communities agreed to 51 full time staffers, but that level has never been achieved. As a result, he says city residents – and citizens of every other municipality who participates in joint dispatch – have overpaid and should get their money back.

Since then, the city has made one of the two missed payments, according to a story in The Journal Times.

Mediation begins April 28 and will be handled by McDevitt Mediation Services of Wauwatosa, the story continues.

The participating villages also have recourse, according to Sturtevant Trustee Chris Larsen. He told board members last month at a committee meeting that if the mediation is unsuccessful, village officials can file a breach of contract against the city.

“At that point, we can demand payment in 60 days,” he said. “The county asked us to wait so we’ll see how it goes.”

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