The state Department of Environmental Conservation aims to officially close down its dispatch office in Ray Brook by the beginning of next month.
DEC spokeswoman Lori Severino told WNBZ Tuesday that all seven dispatchers currently stationed in Ray Brook will be moved to the new Albany office over the course of the next six months.
Four of those dispatchers will be gone by Feb. 1, Severino says.
Plans have been in the works for several years to move DEC dispatch services to Albany, Severino adds. She notes that officials have long expressed a desire for one centralized dispatch center.
The Albany office opened in 2008.
"As of Feb. 1, four of the employees from Ray Brook will be moving to Albany, then there will be three left for the pilot portion of it - just to make sure everything runs smoothly," Severino said. "The hope is that within the next six months, the last three dispatchers will be given the opportunity to move to Albany if they so choose. But the Ray Brook dispatch center will be closing."
Day-to-day operations at the DEC Region 5 offices in Ray Brook will not be affected by the closing of the dispatch center, Severino says.
"The regional office will still be there," she said. "People can still call Ray Brook during regular business hours. But the 24/7 dispatch operations will be all out of Albany, then they'll radio out to whatever region they get calls from."
According to Severino, the state is looking to save money through the consolidation of dispatching services.
She notes that DEC will utilize Radio Over Internet Protocol to manage dispatch calls.
"Ray Brook was using an older system, so we won't have to continue maintaining those old systems," Severino said. "Everyone will be located out of the one unit and we won't need staff in separate offices. It will save money."
DEC has suffered repeated cuts due to New York's ongoing fiscal crisis. Severino says this is just one of many steps taken by DEC officials to cut costs and save money for the state.