The Enfield Village Board held a special meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019 at 7 p.m. to discuss the ongoing questions about the new dispatch fees. Trustees Jim Bolin, Terry Harrison, Maurie Black, Jeanie Palmiter and Mary Dormer were in attendance as was Clerk Debbie Stone ad Mayor Tom Harbout. Mayor Harbour had previously attended a meeting on Jan. 16 with Mayors Joe Bisch and Roy Kissel, White County Sheriff Doug Maier, Carmi Chief of Police Jason Carter and White County board members Donnie Puckett and Ron McAnulty.
The original $500/mo. or $6000/year charge that had been assessed by the county was reduced to $300/mo. or $3600/year for the Village of Enfield, but the board still has questions before they make any agreement with the county. No vote by the board was taken on Tuesday, as the board members requested that Mayor Harbour bring those questions to the attention of the Sheriff and the County Board as dialogue continues.
One question the trustees have is why small villages such as Springerton, Mill Shoals, Burnt Prairie and Maunie, etc. will not have fees imposed, but the villages that budget for and hire police are being asked to share the cost. If Enfield chose not to have a police department, then would they escape paying the fees? They also wondered why the County Board was not in charge of this rather than the Sheriff and felt the board should be trying to figure out ways to increase revenues without causing hardships on the small villages.
The board went into Executive Session at 8:38 p.m. to discuss a right-of-way and returned at 8:48 p.m. No action was taken.
On Monday morning at 10 a.m., January 28, the Norris City village board met in a special session to discuss the dispatch fee assessment and the contract for dispatch services offered by White County. All trustees answered roll call, except for Norm Trousdale.
Mayor Roy Kissel explained to the board the contract which is being offered by the county. He had issues with several of the requirements being made. He did not recommend the contract as it is currently written, but said if the board wanted him to sign it, he would.
“They are balancing their budget by hurting ours,” he stated. He stated they also were not very amenable to his suggestions. However, the initial fee of $12,000 per year was reduced to $11,000 or $916.66 per month.
The county proposes to have a three person board comprised of Sheriff Doug Maier, Carmi Chief of Police Jason Carter and 911 Coordinator Julie Irwin. The mayor said there is no audit offered and that the board would meet once a year. 911 has been hit with a fee charge of $90,000 per year. Mayor Kissel sits on the 911 board and stated that 911’s money technically is not to go to salaries as 911 is responsible for maintaining all the dispatch equipment and is getting ready to invest $150,000 in new equipment soon.
The lack of transparency about how the money will be spent seemed to bother the board and they finally settled on a few things they needed to see changed before signing off on any agreement. They wanted to have more clarity on where the money would be going. They also wanted to see village representation on the oversight board as, so far, that idea has been opposed. The mayor would also like to see a cap on the expense, as the idea for a three year contract was nixed.
The board voted to not accept the contract and the assessment as currently written. They will be taking it to their attorney for evaluation and possible revision.
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