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Deadline set for G’boro to help pay for E-911

The City of Greensboro has until Jan. 27 to come up with a plan to pay more for their share of the Hale County E-911 system. Otherwise, E-911 dispatchers will not service the city.

A special called meeting concerning the E-911 service was held Tuesday morning by the Hale County Commission. The majority of the E-911 board was also on hand along with Greensboro Mayor John E. Owens Jr., City Clerk Lorrie Cook and Councilwoman Valada Paige Banks.

The meeting revealed a lack of communication between the E-911 board and elected officials in Greensboro and the county. The county commission is responsible for appointing people to the board, but commissioners were unfamiliar with who was on the board.

Greensboro currently pays $2,088 a month for two dispatchers in the E-911 system. It is a reduction from $3,500 a month the agency needs.

Moundville pays $3,500 for two dispatchers and has the lowest number of emergency calls. The county pays $3,088 for two dispatchers.

The county system features nine dispatchers including a staff member who also performs data entry, said Kirk Pearson, a Moundville city councilman who also serves part-time as E-911 director. The payroll is $17,000 a month not including insurance. “There hasn’t been a raise in the last three years,” Pearson said.

An audit of the E-911 financial books is currently being done, the director said.

The E-911 board had originally thought the service could be self-sustaining, said Hale County Sheriff Larry Johnson, a member of the board. However, they found out later on, “it will never be self-sustaining.

“…It is not a money making thing,” the sheriff said later.”

After Moundville and Greensboro both reduced their monthly payments, the board had to exhaust the $90,000 they had saved for cellular technology to pay dispatchers.

Moundville later raised their payment back to $3,500 a month. E-911 needs Greensboro to raise their monthly payment back to $3,500 a month.

Greensboro City Clerk Lorrie Cook complained that E-911 had brought their needs to the city after the 2004 fiscal budget was completed. Pearson was supposed to talk to the city during the budget period but failed to attend a meeting.

If Greensboro fails to increase their monthly payment and loses service from E-911, they will have to hire their own dispatchers. “We can’t afford to hire six people (the number Greensboro Police Chief Claude Hamilton said was needed), said Greensboro City Councilman Johnnie Davis, who is also on the E-911 board.

The city council has considered sacrificing a police officer to pay the $3,500 monthly fee.

Hale County and Moundville do not have their own dispatchers. It was incorrectly stated that they do in an article in the Jan. 17 issue of The Demopolis Times.

E-911 also receives $2.00 from each telephone bill in the county.