E-911 Board discusses sales tax issue

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

On Monday, the Barry County E-911 Emergency Services Board discussed the one-eighth of a cent sales tax issue that will be decided by voters on Nov. 8.

Jon Horner, board president, distributed a report that showed why Barry County E-911 is in need of a sales tax increase.

According to the report, E-911 received $957,717 in sales tax during 2007 and $945,153 in sales tax during 2008. In 2009, sales tax revenues dropped to $909,178, and over the last two years, E-911 has collected less than $870,000 each year.

"I have been asked how much the recession has cost us," said Horner. "The 2007 numbers are when we were receiving full funding, and in 2008, we were partially hit by the recession."

The report also showed that the emergency services board has spent around $190,000 in legal fees and committed over $260,000 to an escrow account established for the Monett tax increment financing (TIF) program.

"This will help show people where the money has gone," said Horner.

Mike Phillips, E-911 director, said that he recently attended a Barry County Fire Chiefs Association meeting.

"The association has committed its full support to Barry County 911," said Phillips. "They said they would do anything they could to help with our campaigning and informational meetings."

Barry County E-911 will be organizing public hearings throughout the county hosted by area fire departments.

Phillips reported that 48 batteries will be replaced to maintain the Barry County E-911 Operations Center's uninterruptible power supply (UPS). Libert will replace the batteries and offer maintenance and a three-year warranty for around $31,000.

The batteries must be replaced because they were no longer holding a charge, said Phillips. Battery replacements must be completed every three to five years.

Richard Asbill, board member, recommended Phillips research battery costs without a maintenance plan.

"I think it would benefit you to know how much difference there is between the service and actual battery costs," said Asbill.

Phillips also reported that the Insurance Services Office (ISO) has lowered Barry County E-911's ISO rating. The organization scored lower than in previous years due to reduced staffing from budget cuts. E-911's call volume has also increased this year.

"Overall, we are still scoring high, just not as high as before," said Phillips. "This may cause some ISO ratings to go up with certain fire departments."

The Barry County E-911 ISO rating accounts for 10 percent of the score received by area fire departments.

In other business, the Barry County E-911 Board:

* Heard that dispatchers will be transitioned to Missouri Uniform Law Enforcement Systems (MULES) 4 after Jan. 1, 2012. Training will be conducted this month and in November.

* Approved the financial report, which showed that E-911 currently has $162,747.72 in its checking account, $192,439.38 in its savings account and $262,418.74 in its escrow account.

* Heard that a street sign installation contract has been awarded to Charles Cutberth, who assisted the individual who previously installed signs throughout the county for E-911.

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