Wednesday, November 4, 2015

E-911 Operation and Landfill Expansion - Major Topics Between City and County

City of Louisville officials met with the Winston County Board of Supervisors on Monday to discuss the construction of a new cell at the City/County Landfill and discuss major issues concerning E-911 operations.

Mayor Will Hill and new City Engineer and Landfill manager Robert Eaves made a request for $100,000 from the County, a pro-rata share of initial costs to build a new cell at the landfill.  Eaves and Hill estimate the cost of the new cell to be approximately $1.2 million. The need for the cell was accelerated due to the massive amount of debris following the 2014 tornado.

Eaves indicated that the cell would have a minimum of a 10 year life and the costs would also include prep work for future expansion. The City is to receive $900,000 in FEMA reimbursement funds for the construction and estimate a need for $100,000 now and a possible additional amount next year.

Billing issues with the County were also discussed and Mayor Hill requested that monthly bills to the county for landfill services be changed from a flat rate of $4500 to a rate based upon monthly usage. Hill indicated that the flat rate created billing problems at the end of the year when the actual amount was reconciled to account for over or under payment by the County.

Hill noted that the local landfill was one of the cheapest to residents
in the state and that the City wanted to make every effort to keep it that way. Board of Supervisors Chairman Mike Peterson agreed and stated, “Get the bill over here to us and we’ll get it paid.”

A more controversial issue of E-911 operations was also under discussion. Hill noted that the City had received a 90 day notice of termination of the interlocal agreement with the County for 911 operation. Hill acknowledged the ongoing concerns of the county over protocol, communication and costs of the operation.

Hill indicated that communication between the parties was a major issue and asked for a “clear path of communication.”

Supervisor Peterson expressed the Board’s frustration as well stating that the County had identified problems but nothing ever seems to get accomplished. “If we get this thing working like it should, we can recruit another nearby county (to contract with local 911). It can’t be a City or County operation but a 911 operation.”

Hill noted that he didn’t know how any problems or issues were communicated. “The only way I know about some issues is through a 3rd party.”

The City and County had previously agreed to a financial audit of 911 with the goal of establishing a separate account to provide a starting point for funding levels by each party. The audit has been delayed by issues and workload from the outside auditor but is now underway.

Both parties seemed to agree that keeping 911 in its current facility and the City and County working together would be the best solution for the taxpayers.  Over the past few months, there has been some discussion of the County taking over 911, moving the operation from its current facility behind City Hall, contracting 911 out to another county and closing local 911 or making the facility’s use limited to 911 only. (Currently, the Louisville Police Department occupies some space in the building.)

After additional discussion, the decision on any action would wait
until the financial audit is complete to determine each party’s stake in 911 (City/County) and then work to start cleaning up any issues. Supervisor Peterson expressed his opinion that changes in location of the facility or the County to take over operation would not be his preference. “It would be foolish at this point to move the operation. We need to leave it where it is.”

Mayor Hill addressed the issue with the Louisville Board of Aldermen in their regular meeting on Tuesday.