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911 awarded grant for more new equipment

By: Greg Bird

In a light session Thursday night, the McCreary County Fiscal Court tackled several personnel issues and hearing updates from department heads on projects that are underway in the county.

McCreary County Ambulance Service and 911 Director Jimmy Barnett informed the Court that 911 was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which will help purchase new radio consoles for the department.

“This is the last piece of the puzzle for 911,” Barnett said. “All equipment will be brand new.”

Previously the department received $70,000 for a new call routing controller system and $67,000 for a new computer aided dispatch system from the Kentucky Commercial Mobile Services Board.

When installed, all 911 Dispatch equipment will be state-of-the-art, replacing the outdated system currently in place.

The next hurdle for the department is getting approval to install the new equipment at a new location.

Judge Stephens and Deputy Judge Andrew Powell had proposed renovating an unused portion of the EMS building and installing the new equipment at one time. Such a move would allow 911 to operate without interruption, and eliminate placing the new wiring on top of existing wiring that is decades old.

The Court did approve a construction bid for $50,000 to renovate the basement area and install the equipment, pending Judge Stephens finding a way to fund the move without resorting to taking out a loan. With the newest grant, the projected cost of the proposed move should be around $25,000, which could be funded through PILT monies or revenues from cellular phone taxes.

Magistrates have been supportive of the move, but were not willing to seek a loan to pay for it. There were also objections raised about a proposed plan to convert the old 911 building into office space for other county departments.

The building that currently houses 911 is over half a century old, and would need costly renovations to make it suitable for any further use.

In other Fiscal Court news, Economic and Community Development Director Susan Stephens stated a trial run for the County’s Trail Town initiative went well last weekend, and they are closer to finalizing the process to get certified.

Deputy Judge Powell asked the Court to begin the process of seeking bids to replace the fuel system computer and install a generator at the County Road Garage.

Powell said the system used by the Road Department is very old and subject to breaking down. He said if power were lost County-owned vehicles, such as snow plows and emergency equipment, would be unable to obtain fuel in an emergency.

The total estimated cost would be approximately $20,000-$40,000 and could be paid for out of LGEA funds.

Before the meeting closed Magistrate Frankie Ball asked Judge Stephens for an update on a proposed salary increase for county employees.

Stephens said he is still looking at options how to pay for an across the board increase of some kind. He stated he wanted to find a way to increase salaries all at once so not to create disparity among the departments.

The next meeting of the McCreary County Fiscal Court will be on November 13 at 7:00 p.m. in the Fiscal Court room.

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