In July 24-30 issue By Greg Wells Times Journal Managing Editor
JAMESTOWN - Special meetings of the county and one city’s officials were held last week to approve the joining of the Ambulance and Dispatch services under one agency, for the most part.
The new plan would move fiscal responsibility for the dispatch and 911 mapping systems to the ambulance taxing district.
It would also move control of all those activities under that board, with the exception that the present dispatch board would be reconfigured with new members appointed and would serve as an advisory board regarding the National Crime Information Center terminal.
Two directors would remain, one over ambulance services and the other over dispatch and mapping. The ambulance service director however would be the fiscal officer for the dispatch.
After approval “as presented” by the Russell County Ambulance Board, the city of Russell Springs and then the county government and City of Jamestown all approved the new inter-local agreement.
With local approval of the measure it moves to the state and possibly beyond for approval.
Lt. Phill Crumpton with the Kentucky State Police said they would review the agreement but a final decision could involve the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
He explained that the NCIC is the FBI’s system and is used locally through the auspices of the state police.
There are extensive rules regarding who can use that system, what they can use it for and who is to be in charge of overseeing its use.
The fiscal court was advised by an audience member, Pulaski County Dispatch Supervisor Sondra Wesley, that the state has told her they would look very closely at the Russell County proposal.
The issues regarding moving dispatch under the ambulance board have been festering in the background for some months and came to a head the week before last when the cities and county brought a proposal to the ambulance board.
That same day the dispatch supervisor and one other dispatcher resigned. Then last week the acrimony continued as the County Judge-Executive and Russell Springs Police Chief had an animated and protracted discussion at the Monday fiscal court meeting over dispatch board matters.
The night after that the ambulance board members met and passed the proposal 2-1 though two of the members voiced serious doubts about the proposal.
The fiscal court passed the proposal Friday morning, with one dissenting vote while one of the two cities passed it unanimously.
In opposition at Russell Springs was Ray Barrett who said he believed the change would cause a tax hike.
On the ambulance board Beckham Wilson indicated he had concerns that the change would not save any money, since there would be two directors, rather than one supervisor and one director.
Voting against the change in fiscal court was magistrate Greg Popplewell, who said he wasn’t comfortable with the number of questions he was hearing and the inconsistent answers.
“I’m not willing to just rush into anything that’s presented to the court,” Popplewell said.
The magistrate said he would have preferred to have more information and more consensus among those involved in the two programs before making a decision.
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
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