The ongoing dispute between the City of Racine and Racine County over payments for joint dispatch services is headed to court on a different track than what was decided earlier this year.

County attorneys on August 17 filed a lawsuit against the city to recover a missing $350,000 payment for joint dispatch services. The city says it doesn’t have to pay because staffing levels at the dispatch center fell below levels listed in the service contract.

The lawsuit was unexpected because both parties agreed in April to file jointly to let a judge decide who’s right.

The city withheld two payments of $350,000 each because staffing levels dipped below the 51 positions outlined in the contract. There was an amendment compromise that changes would include slight fluctuations in that number, which county officials say is usually the result of new employees undergoing extensive training to fill vacant positions.

Since then, the city has made one of the missing payments.

Racine Mayor John Dickert told The Journal Times he was surprised by the lawsuit because of the agreement about letting a judge figure it out, but County Executive Jonathan Delagrave said his office is prepared to follow the suit through to the end.

The Villages of Caledonia, Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant also pay into joint dispatch and have made their payments according to the quarterly schedule laid out in the service contract.

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