In July 8 IssueBy Greg WellsTimes Journal Managing Editor
"We talked to the state about it and they said our budget isn't out of line, especially with the number of calls we get," said County Judge-Executive Mickey Garner this week about the 911 Dispatch Center.
He said the court has received notice that the Russell County Ambulance District's Board of Directors will be terminating the agreement that had placed them in control of the county's dispatching center, after the 120-day grace period.
Given that, Garner said they have looked at three ways of funding the dispatch services in Russell County.
-Return to the previous funding, which would see the county, ambulance service and cities contributing to fund the service.
-A service fee could be levied on local phone lines, an idea that has been floated repeatedly by Garner in the past, and is the mode of funding for almost all the other counties in Kentucky.
-The other funding choice would be a billing system, where the county would have to bill the agencies that are dispatched by 911 Operators on a per-call basis.
Garner said the ambulance service, sheriff's office, city police departments and the fire departments would be responsible for paying a portion of the costs of operating the dispatch center based on the percentage of total calls they received that month.
"Those were the suggestions from the state," Garner said.
He said magistrates were going to talk with the mayors about returning to the old system, and they were all asking the public to suggest other means of funding the service.
Both mayors have told the Times Journal in past interviews that they would not support returning to the old system, but that was before the ambulance board backed out of the deal that had funded the dispatch service over the last two years.