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May 2, 2014

911 Center’s future lies with Commissioners

CLAREMORE —

Four years after the inception of the “new” Rogers County E911 Center, county leaders continue to debate the basics for establishing countywide operations.
No fees for agencies joining the center have been finalized to date. 
Tempers flared Thursday as the Rogers County Trust Authority met simultaneously with the Rogers County Commissioners during the special meeting.
The two-hour meeting resulted in no resolution of the pricing debate, only a decision by the commissioners to take control of the discussion. 
The commissioners voted to determine on Monday at their weekly meeting to set the rates all agencies will pay to join the center.
Despite the objections of several trust authority members, the vote was unanimous.
Financial concerns and contract commitments were just of few of the issues discussed in the meeting.
The E911 Center has come under fire for problems with the quality of the dispatching services. 
Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton recently addressed an issue where dispatchers were unable to locate a deputy in the field while he was fighting a subject. 
The incident lasted only a few minutes according to E911 Director Janet Hamilton, who declined to answer questions about the incident and other possible administration issues during the meeting.
The board members focused their attention on the budget, requesting final figures from Hamilton.
The estimated annual budget for the center is approximately $1.2 million. With current revenues, the center faces a $22,882 shortfall, according to Commissioner Dan DeLozier.
The shortfall could be recovered if agencies including Verdigris police and fire departments begin to pay for services they are already receiving, according to DeLozier.
Those agencies say they are waiting to know what the annual fee will be so they can have their budgets approved.
In the meantime, the E911 Center budget, Rogers County budget and the budgets of more than 20 local fire and police departments hang in the balance.

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