The town of Acton is looking for new 911 dispatch partners as Concord moves to pull out of a languishing deal for the neighboring towns to join forces.
“While that news was hard to hear, we’re still continuing to look at the feasibility of a regional dispatch center,” Acton Town Manager John Mangiaratti told his Select Board.
Concord lawmakers voted in August to terminate the arrangement for the Acton-Concord Regional Emergency Communications Center, or A-C RECC, which the two towns struck back in 2021.
Among other things, Concord objected to Acton’s push to locate the center next door to its own police station. Acton, in turn, was only willing to offer a three-month grace period to consider more neutral locations and additional members — not the six months Concord requested.
The public servants who inked the 2021 deal have since left office. Communication between the towns broke down, current officials say. The project stalled.
Now, both towns appear to be moving on from the kerfuffle.
“The direction I received from the board earlier this summer was to talk to neighboring communities, which is work that we’ve started,” Acton’s Mangiaratti said at his town’s September 18 Select Board meeting. “I’ve also been in touch with State 911 to confirm that they’re still comfortable with where we’re at and what we’re doing.”
Concord has retained outside legal help to formally disentangle the town from the deal.
“Special counsel is currently reviewing the existing governing document and the notice provisions required within,” Town Manager Kerry Lafleur said in an email. “There is likely to be more information available [in] the next few weeks.”
Concord Police Chief Thomas Mulcahy, Fire Chief Thomas Judge and Select Board members have left open the possibility of teaming up with other neighbors on an intermunicipal dispatch.
Acton Select Board Clerk Dean Charter, who had been liaison to Concord on the upended deal, asked Mangiaratti for the update after people reached out “with questions about the [RECC] because there continue to be some articles written about it in The Concord Bridge,” he said.
“I think this was a significant effort which was attempted.”