Lawrence Township officials are exploring alternatives for emergency dispatch services after a sizable increase in contract costs for services from iXP Corp.
The Lawrence Township Council approved a 12-month contract with iXP Corp. for $1,092,840, which is nearly $300,000 more than the expiring contract of $843,000.
The new contract begins April 1 and ends March 31, 2024.
The cost will be spread out over two budget years – 2023 and 2024 – because of the duration of the contract, officials said.
The iXP Corp., which is based in Plainsboro Township, has provided emergency dispatch services for Lawrence Township since 2013. At that time, township officials had replaced the in-house dispatchers with iXP Corp. as a cost-savings measure.
Municipal Manager Kevin Nerwinski framed the increase as an example of what is occurring in the post-COVID 19 world. Towns are experiencing increases in trash and energy costs, among other services, he said.
The township sought bids for 911 emergency dispatch services, but only one proposal was received, officials said. A second request for bids was sent out, resulting in iXP Corp.’s lone bid. The proposal from iXP Corp. was reviewed by Nerwinski and Police Chief Christopher Longo.
“This is a cost that iXP is passing on to us. We met with iXP Corp. to discuss it. There was not much of a negotiation. It’s a public safety issue. This is what they indicated they need from us,” Nerwinski said.
If Lawrence Township wants to extend the annual contract for another four years beyond 2023-24, the cost will be $1,137,600 for 2024-25. The cost rises annually to $1,279,200 at the end of the fourth year.
Nerwinski said it is reaching the price point where the township may have to bring back the in-house dispatchers.
“The re-bid sent a clear message to iXP Corp. We will explore shared service agreements. We will need one year (to explore options). They know we are looking at alternatives,” Nerwinski said.