Claremore Daily Progress

Government

January 3, 2014

E911 Center nears opening, financing still in question

CLAREMORE —

The new E911 Center hosted  the E911 Trust Authority Thursday to discuss final details before officially opening Jan.  16.
A lack of quorum kept the board from making any decisions; however,  they briefly discussed the center’s financial health.
Oologah Talala Emergency Medical Services Director Kelly Deal, Northwest Fire District Chief David Puckett, Foyil Fire Department Chief Randy Atchley and Rogers County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jerry Smittle were present for the informal discussion.
The Rogers County Sheriff’s Office, Verdigris police and fire departments, as well as (OTEMS), will be the only agencies being serviced when the center opens, E911 Director Janet Hamilton said.
The trustees want answers about fees associated with joining the center and why no contracts for service have been completed with the two Verdigris agencies.
Verdigris police and fire departments are seeking a decreased rate due to their use of mobile cop technology.
The fee for law enforcement agencies is currently set at $13,000 annually.
Hamilton said the fee is required to meet the gap between the amount of 911 phone tax collected and monthly expenses.
E911 tax collections will be about $264,000 annually, according to Hamilton.
She said the Board of County Commissioners would be responsible for contracts with the agencies as she asked the trustees for direction.
Verdigris fire and police have been receiving dispatching services free of charge for a few months, according to Hamilton.
The program was to serve as a training pilot until the center is opened. With only two weeks remaining and no contract in place, other agencies are watching closely to see what the county will do.
The two agencies would each pay a monthly fee, if a contract is approved, using the guidelines approved by the trust last fall.
Fire departments will pay a minimum fee of $300 a month. EMS services will pay a rate, starting at $1,350 a month.

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