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County, village reach agreement on dispatch fees

By Carol McIntire

Carroll County Commissioners and Sheriff Dale Williams have worked out an agreement with village of Carrollton officials to pay a yearly fee to the Sheriff’s Department for dispatching services provided to the Carrollton Police Department.

Commissioner Robert “Bob” Wirkner told fellow commissioners last Thursday he worked out the agreement with Mayor Frank Leghart, Village Administrator Denny Roudebush and Police Chief Ron Yeager for the village to become current with past payments and set an amount for 2013 dispatching services.

“One of the reasons this wasn’t addressed in the past is because the sheriff wanted to be a good neighbor,” Wirkner stated. “Now the Sheriff’s budget is getting squeezed because of a decline in the funds generated for 911 services from a fee on landline phones.”

Wirkner said the money from the landline fund, which was approved by county voters several years ago, was used to pay the salaries of two dispatchers. At its highest point, the fee generated just shy of $80,000 per year. In 2011, the levy generated about $45,000.

“People are getting rid of their home phone as they transition to cell phones. It is hitting the fund hard so the sheriff has to make up those funds,” he said.

“In the past, we have been very lenient with the village as far as dispatching fees,” he continued. “However, the mayor added a second car to each shift and we also dispatch for their water and sewer departments after hours. Their radio traffic has increased and thus, so has the workload on our dispatchers.”

After consulting with the county auditor, the village and county agreed the village will pay a yearly fee of $52,931.70. “We arrived at that figure using scientific data, not just by pulling a number out of the air,” Wirkner explained. “I feel both sides are comfortable with that amount.”

He said previously when the village was billed for dispatching services, it was a year in the rear. “I understand there was also some question as to whether the auditor or sheriff was to send a bill to the village and sometimes it didn’t get mailed. Now, the auditor will send the bill on a quarterly basis.”

The process of billing in the rear will also be changed.

“The village has agreed to get any past balance paid promptly and to get the bill current through 2012 by the end of 2013 the bills will be paid in quarterly in the year the services are rendered.”

Wirkner pointed out the Sheriff’s office has traditionally provided free dispatching services to fire departments in the county and there are no plans to change that.

“The thinking behind this is that the fire departments are volunteer and we shouldn’t take away from their limited funds,” said Wirkner.

In other business, commissioners:
-RECEIVED the yearly report from Carroll County Engineer Brian Wise. Wise noted the county highway department used about 400 tons less of limestone to repair low berms in 2012, because of utilizing grindings from roads Chesapeake Energy is upgrading, did not complete any contracted paving projects and used about 20,000 gallons less in the dura-patcher machines.

“We are allowing Chesapeake to stay ahead of us with paving,” Wise explained. “We don’t want to spend money to pave a road and then have Chesapeake come in and tear it up to bring it up to standards for gas and oil industry vehicles to travel on it.”

He said in 2013, the department will focus on bridge maintenance and maintaining roads.

-DISCUSSED several repair projects with Ed Eick, county maintenance supervisor.

-AGREED to accept bids until 9:30 a.m. March 7 and open them at that time for the installation of a two-inch gas line through the Golden Age Retreat building. The project is being funded by the Community Development Block Grant program.

-AGREED to accept applications until 4 p.m. March 1 for the full-time position of EMA/LEPC deputy director.

-AGREED to contract with North American Environmental Services of Columbus for asbestos abatement assessments on seven properties at a cost of $4,800 upon the recommendation of Marshal Bleckman, the county’s consultant for the Community Housing Improvement Program.

-AMENDED an agreement with American Electric Power for energy rates to include the Department of Job and Family Services building on E. Main St.

-RE-APPOINTED Dave Harp to the Revolving Loan Fund Review Committee for a term ending Feb. 2, 2016, Jeff Yeager to the same board for a term ending in March of the same year and Ed Kovalesky to the Complaint Review Committee for a term ending in February 2016.

-ANNOUNCED the courthouse will be closed Feb. 18 in observance of President’s Day.

-SIGNED a certification of anticipated expenditures for the Family and Children First Council stating the council expects to spend $20,036 on the family centered and community services program by June 30, 2013.

-RE-APPOINTED Jim Hull and Rick Hannon to the Public Defenders Board for terms ending Jan. 31, 2017 and appointed Aaron Dodds to the Fair Housing Board for a continuing term.

-RECEIVED a report from Commissioner Jeff Ohler on a Courthouse Security Committee meeting. Ohler noted the committee would like to provide some kind of security for the courthouse security deputy and update the system used by courthouse offices to alert the Sheriff’s Department in case of an emergency. 

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