Union County will soon have new E-911 system at no additional cost to taxpayers

Supervisors continue to meet in the circuit courtroom for social distancing
November 3rd, 2020     Featured Government & Politics

Union County residents should have a new Emergency 911 phone system in the next couple of months.

Supervisors approved final paperwork to fund the project Monday and Emergency Management Director Curt Clayton said the vendors involved had already had coordinating meetings.

Replacing the decade-old system will cost about $800,000 but taxpayers won’t see additional expense, board president Randy Owen said.

The county is borrowing money that will be repaid with a bond issue. Owen said that with the $165,000 on hand in the fund, 911 fees coming in should be sufficient to pay off the loan without assessing taxpayers more.

The vendor is guaranteeing to maintain and update the new system for 10 years and it involves a new computer-aided dispatch system, 911 phone answering system and radio system.

Clayton said the new system should help with medical dispatching especially. When Baptist Memorial Hospital changed ambulance service several years ago, 911 dispatchers could no longer communicate directly with ambulance crews, which sometime led to delays. The new system will make that communication possible. Of course the new system will not help when ambulances simply are not available here.

Clayton said the new system will be next-generation compliant, which means when the state is ready to switch it on, this new system will be able to identify the specific location of cell phone calls and not just triangulate based on tower signals. It was not known how soon this may be, however.

In an unrelated matter, Clayton also wanted to get word out that all city and county fire departments have face masks that are available free to the public. He said anyone who needs masks can get in contact with a member of their area fire department. In New Albany, anyone can go by Station One on Cleveland Street or Station Two on Denton Road.

In personnel, supervisors approved changes for the sheriff’s department including N’Shaun Decoreai Cameron as part-time jailer, Misty Dawn Arcos as part-time jailer, Jacob Reed Mangum as part-time dispatcher and James Kevin Cooper as part-time dispatcher.

In purchasing, the board approved buying a chip spreader for the road department. Only one bid was submitted, for about $312,000 but supervisors found that price acceptable.

In roads, supervisors voted to amend the new budget by moving $150,000 from working cash to contractual services. President Owen said the money will be used for road work in Roberts Subdivision in District 5 and on Locust Hill Road in District 4.

Also in roads, supervisors tentatively agreed to close a section of County Road 272. Board attorney Chandler Rogers said the section is a dead-end road with only two property owners. Both are willing to close the road and agreed it offers no public benefit.

The board must hold a publically announced hearing before formally closing the road. If it is closed, it will be up to the landowners to maintain it, but they also will be able to put up a gate or fencing to prevent trespassing ATV drivers from entering.

Chancery Clerk Annette Hickey told supervisors that the judges of the First Chancery Court District have asked the counties to put computers in the courtrooms for the attorneys and judges.

She said money in the CARES Act has been designated for this. The county would have to purchase the equipment but would be reimbursed. Emergency Management Director Clayton said CARES reimbursement is typically occurring within a couple of weeks.

The equipment will cost about $20,750.

Emergency Director Clayton told supervisors there is a delay in selling two surplus old fire trucks and a garbage truck. The board had planned to sell the equipment on the GovDeals.com auction website. However, since it has been several years since the board has used the site, their old contract has expired. Clayton said someone will be here to establish a new contract but that the county will essentially have to start from scratch.

Sheriff Jimmy Edwards said he had just received a letter from the Department of Public Safety information technology department concerning the county’s National Crime Information System. This is the system that stores and shares information on offenders, general identification, crimes, victims, evidence, stolen items and other information related to criminal investigation.

The letter said that any department using AT&T for its NCIC will have to agree to switch to C-Spire immediately or risk being cut off from the network. This is apparently due to a state-level contractual change.

The officials said other county internet services are already with C-Spire and the new E-911 system will have that service also.

Finally, in housekeeping business, supervisors approved the holiday schedule as sent from the governor for the rest of the year. The governor traditionally sets some mandatory days off and gives local officials the option to add days if they do not think it will negatively impact county operations. They usually add the options.

County employees will be off Thanksgiving Day and Friday the following day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. All three groups will fall on Thursday and Friday.

The next scheduled meeting of the board of supervisors will be at 10 a.m. Monday, Nov. 16.

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