By PJ Martin
The members of the Edmonton City Council met on Monday, June 5th with all members present.
The main topic of the meeting was the status of the Barren/Metcalfe 911 agreement. As in years past, some members of the Barren/Metcalfe 911 Board have insisted that Metcalfe pay a large sum of money to the 911 dispatch system for what was referred to as Metcalfe’s part of the operating expenses. Yet, no exact dollar amount and no documents had been provided showing precisely what the operating expenses were.
The Barren/Metcalfe 911 Interlocal Agreement created in 1993, is a very confusing and complicated system to understand and when anyone begins dealing with it they must go back to the beginning in order to understand the problems and how they occurred.
Edmonton Police Chief Delaney Wilson explained how the current system works. When a call comes into 911 it is received at the Barren 911 Center, if it is medical the ambulance is dispatched and the operator gets information regarding what the call is about. If the caller needs the fire department or police in Metcalfe County the call is transferred to the Edmonton 911 Dispatcher who sends the appropriate help. If consolidated, everything would be dispatched from Barren County.
“This has been the most difficult thing I’ve done since I’ve been your city attorney,” stated City Attorney Brian Pack.
“There has been a recent push from the Barren County side to take that relationship to a consolidated relationship, which if I understand it correctly would have the effect, if we agree to it, of ending the 911 Board here in Metcalfe and there would be one 911 Regional for both Barren and Metcalfe.”
Pack went on to talk about the 911 Board meeting held a couple of weeks prior in which there was a strong push to get Metcalfe’s intent on consolidating or not. He stated that “Barren County and Glasgow both made it very clear that they are interested in that.”
There was a gentleman from the state 911 Board who attended that meeting and he presented the pros of consolidating, but not the cons. This gentleman told the board there were grants to cover moving the equipment to the Barren Dispatch and that changing to a tier 3 (consolidated) would get priority for all grants. The current Interlocal agreement is considered a tier 2.
“Whether we consolidate or not is not a legal question. You can if you want to. You don’t have to,” said Pack, adding, “There is a provision in that agreement, that if any one of the four parties seeks to withdraw…they forfeit all assets – equipment and cash.”
“If we don’t consolidate, and that’s the will of this body, we need to let them know that.”
A motion was made and seconded by council members to NOT consolidate and was unanimously approved.
With the vote over, it was time to address the money issue. The Barren/Glasgow members of the board are requesting that Metcalfe/Edmonton pay a one-time payment of $100,000. This amount was originally quoted as $240,000 and has slowly been reduced.
Mayor Doug Smith noted in a written statement that the request for money is based on declining land telephone lines and cell phone taxes that have not kept up with expenses approved by the Board. He also noted that both Metcalfe and Edmonton have requested various reports and audits to determine the actual shortfall. The financial reports provided have been inconsistent and difficult to decipher to determine the actual amount.
Attorney Pack and Clerk Dawn Devore have been reviewing the last 9 months of income and expense reports three months of which were sent to Devore on request and 6 months were sent to Judge/Executive Larry Wilson. By calculating exactly what percentage of each expense is owed by Metcalfe/Edmonton, totaling those, averaging, and multiplying for 12 months they obtained the total for the fiscal year (7/1/22 – 6/30/23). The amount owed came to $13,575 of which the city is responsible for half and the county the other half.
After a brief discussion the motion was made for the City of Edmonton to pay $6,800 and the other $6,800 will be discussed by the Metcalfe County Fiscal Court at their next meeting on June 13th at 9 a.m.
Mayor Smith presented his budget proposal message to the council and the first reading was approved unanimously.
Resolution 2022-2023-05 KIA Cleaner Water was approved and authorized the Mayor to apply for grant money from the Cleaner Water Program for the water project on Chris Harper Road.
A special called Meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 8th to hold the second reading of the FY 2023-2024 Budget Ordinance #2023-24-01.
The July meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 29th at 4 p.m. at City Hall.