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Town asked to pay more for 911 dispatch service

MONTICELLO — A request from Sheriff Joel Thames for the town topay more for its E911 dispatching service has opened a debate aboutwhat the town’s “fair share” of that cost should be.

Sheriff Thames is requesting the town pay approximately $330more each month for its share of the costs of dispatcher service.The town currently has an agreement with the sheriff’s office topay meal costs on town inmates and a dispatcher’s salary, plus 20percent.

“That 20 percent was built in to cover the costs of employeeinsurance and other benefits,” said Mayor David Nichols.

The agreement between the town and the sheriff’s office wasinitially made several years ago when the county adopted the E911system, Nichols said. Payments made by the town have increasedslightly at least once since to accommodate a dispatcher pay raiseinitiated by the sheriff’s office.

Neither New Hebron nor Silver Creek make payments directly tothe sheriff’s office to offset dispatchers, the mayor said. Allthree municipalities, however, contribute directly to the E911 fundand a portion of their county taxes, like those of countytaxpayers, also contribute to the fund.

“We feel like we’re paying our fair share,” Nichols said.

Nichols said Thames did not clearly justify his request atTuesday’s meeting, but the board was prepared to hear it.

“He never really gave us a good justification for it,” Nicholssaid. “If he can justify it, we’ll pay it. But we need to be ableto justify it to our taxpayers.”

Nichols said the board informed Thames that he needed to providethem with a full and detailed account of the dispatcher costs atthe June meeting and make a presentation justifying the requestbefore the August meeting.

The board has begun working on the town’s fiscal budget and itmust be completed by the end of August, Nichols said.

“We need a clear picture of what it’s going to cost if we’regoing to budget it in,” he said.

In other matters, the board agreed to pay the cost of insurancefor City Attorney Joe Dale Walker in lieu of a raise. Walker willcontinue to pay for the benefits extended to his family. Theattorney had not received a raise since Nichols took office sevenyears ago.