In Sept. 23 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Editor
Magistrates Greg Popplewell and Gary Robertson were guest attendees at last Thursday's monthly meeting of the Jamestown City Council to discuss the various 911 dispatch operation and funding options the fiscal court has come up with in light of the current financial crisis with the local EMS.
Popplewell told the council that the court was "weighing their options" concerning the dispatch and looking at various options they could take. He said options included turning dispatch over to the state police, going unenhanced, a spike in the landline telephone tax as well as a cost-share program with the two cities, the fiscal court and the EMS Board.
"I know it's not popular and money is tight with everyone right now but it is one of our options," Popplewell told the council of the cost-share plan.
The final option was to not have a dispatch at all, something Popplewell said would be trying to everyone in the county.
"If we put our heads together the more we have the easier it is to come to a solution," he said.
Robertson added that with the Oct. 18th deadline fast approaching that effectively ends the relationship of the ambulance service and dispatch, no money from the ambulance tax will go toward funding the dispatch past that date.
Mayor Brooks Bates said if the city of Jamestown contributed money to keep dispatch up and running it would have to come out of the city's general fund.
Councilman George Ralph Garr said the other entities would be more willing to give money to fund dispatch if they could see a solidified budget and to know what money is being spent where.
Bates reaffirmed his position that dispatch is a county problem and that it could be remedied through additional county taxation that would go toward funding the service.
No promises were made by the council concerning dispatch at the meeting at press time, questions still linger over how dispatch will be ran come Oct. 18.
In other happenings at the meeting:
• Fire Chief Tony Wright and firefighter Martin Wesley, who oversee the Jamestown Fire Department's new dive team, Team Wesley, spoke to the council about how the team was organized and what their training sessions have been like.
The team came to be earlier this year after a combined effort among the department and Carl and Doris Marotzke in honor of their son, Wesley Watkins. Watkins drowned in Lake Cumberland in June of last year after falling off a dock at Jamestown Marina and hitting his head and Carl and Doris have set up the Wesley Watkins Foundation in his memory.
The team is made up of dive team captain Martin Wesley, Asst. Fire Chief Michael Rush, Asst. Fire Chief Jeff Landers, Chris Knifley, Billy Bunch, Zach Burton, Michael Clark and Michael Reynolds. Wright, the incident commander, will oversee all fire and dive instances.
• Police Chief Derek Polston spoke on the closing of the Russell County Jail and how his department would be responding to this situation. Now, Polston said, after one of his officers make an arrest they must contact a transportation officer to come and pick up their arrested individual and transport them to the Casey County Detention Center in Liberty. The Jamestown Police Department will also have an off duty officer on -call at all times now as a precaution due to the jail closure and transportation obligations.
He said all law enforcement officers in the county will have to work more closely together under these circumstances.
• The council thanked Advanced Technical Marketing in Jamestown for the sign they made for the Tuesday night dedication of Walter Bell Field at the city park. They also said the Cody's Court 3 on 3 basketball tournament on Sept. 11 at the park was a success.
• Bates announced that the Jamestown Marina Hotel would remain open through the winter in hopes of drawing in some winter conferences or the like.