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My Two Cents Worth

PJ Martin

The Herald-News


I am sure most of you have read about the situation with our 911 Call Center. It seems like every meeting from the Edmonton City Council to Metcalfe Fiscal Court discusses it.

The only possible conclusion is that Glasgow/Barren County want rid of Metcalfe’s 911 Center and they are trying everything in their power to persuade (force) Edmonton/Metcalfe to consolidate. What does that mean? Our 911 Center in Edmonton would be gone, probably forever, and the equipment there would all be moved to the 911 Emergency Communications Center (BMECC) in Barren County. All the funds that Metcalfe has would be turned over to Glasgow/Barren County. Most of that money is already going to the 911 Budget.

If that happened, there would never be a dollar amount that makes them happy. We have already seen that. They would still get whatever dollar amount they feel is acceptable from Metcalfe/Edmonton each month. They clearly have the majority vote with 7-3 and will use it to vote in whatever amount they see fit and Metcalfe will have to pay it.

As for the three votes from Metcalfe, even though you will be outvoted, it does matter that you vote ‘no’ on something you feel isn’t right. Let it be documented on the meeting minutes at least.

The BMECC Board decided at the last meeting to stop the $1,000 monthly rent payment to the City of Edmonton for the use of the 911 Center portion of the building in Edmonton; however, the BMECC Board still expects the $2,400 monthly payment to the City of Glasgow for the rent of the 911 Center in Glasgow.

Both of these payments come from the same place, the BMECC 911 Budget. That budget includes cell phone income from Metcalfe (2022 = $3,161.68) that goes to the BMECC. It also includes landline income (2022 = $2,395.26) from Metcalfe which is sent by the Fiscal Court to the BMECC.

The BMECC Board has repeatedly asked for money from Metcalfe saying it isn’t paying its fair share. Ok, what is that share? Past Judge/Executive Micheal Hale once tried to demand $300,000. The board has thrown out numbers of $240,000, $150,000, and finally $100,000. They are saying Metcalfe owes $100,000 to the budget for the 2023-2024 year. Do they know or are they just throwing out numbers?

Where are the invoices showing what is actually owed? The city council and fiscal court have been asking for invoices from the BMECC Board since I began this job back in December 2016.

At long last, a few months ago nine months of invoices were received. Six months to fiscal court and three months to the city. Those were reviewed carefully by the city attorney and the city clerk and it was determined that for the 2022-2023 fiscal year Metcalfe/Edmonton owed a total of $13,575. That’s a far cry from $100,000 don’t you think?

The fact is the county needs to find another way to collect the funds to pay for the 911 costs. Landlines are dying and a source paid by the majority of the county’s citizens is being sought. At the moment, no solution has been agreed upon.

I believe the reason for Glasgow/Barren’s sudden urge to consolidate is money driven and the power over Metcalfe it brings. Recently, Mike Sunseri Administrator of the KY 911 Service Center spoke at the BMECC Board meeting and he pushed the idea that a consolidation would bring in a lot more grant money. He did the same at the last fiscal court meeting in Metcalfe. He touted the many pros of consolidating, but underplayed the cons of it.

When Judge/Executive Larry Wilson asked about the option of Metcalfe creating its own 911 service and what the cost would be Sunseri replied, “I think you would be looking at several 100’s of thousands of dollars…It’s an area that the board is not looking to actually certify more folks, because that waters down the pool of money for everyone else.”

That statement says it all. As usual, you can just follow the money if you want to know what’s really going on.


1 Comment

  1. Joseph Zillmer on October 9, 2023 at 9:03 pm

    I have been in Emergency Medical Services for over 30 years, most at the C-Level.
    I have sat thru and chaired countless budget hearings on multi-jurisdictional systems, fighting similar disagreements.
    The issue, per your comments, is so simple my head hurts. Obviously, politics trump fairness, and possibly the law. If this continues with excessive demands and costs you may have to forward this to the State Attorney General ‘s Office. I know that would create even more discord with Glasgow/Barren County but I don’t know if it could get much worse.
    Of course, the performance of your center must meet the standards and best practices established locally. But? Overcharging in contract fees is immoral and questionable legally when dealing with taxpayer funds and any/all grants to run the service(s). Has anyone done an analysis of the savings realized by consolidating to one 911 Center? If not there appears to be no justification for the proposal regardless of the 7-3 vote you face every public meeting. The math should be simple. If I had the call data I could provide a cost analysis and best practices operational review in one hour. Sorry for the political hell you find yourself embroiled in
    Good luck,
    Joseph Zillmer
    Bowling Green

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