The St. Francois County 911 Board of Directors recently reviewed the progress on consolidation with Farmington’s central dispatch operations, heard an update on finances and approved both the 2019 audit and a minimum fund balance policy.
Finance Committee chairwoman Ginger Taylor, CPA, reported sales tax for April was $226,330, down slightly from March due to the coronavirus stay-home order by Gov. Mike Parson, but, she said, it was the highest April revenue received by the 911 center since the inception of its tax a few years ago, up about 2.5%. She said the federal stimulus checks probably helped.
“Once the stimulus money came out in mid-April, the hope was that people would use that money to catch up on bills, the mortgage, the rent, etc.,” she said. “I’m not sure that’s happened, but I know a lot of people were at Lowe’s and Walmart right around the time the checks started to hit people’s bank accounts.”
The center retains a surplus of $430,000 this year.
Big River/Bonne Terre Fire Chief David Pratte, chairman of the ISO Committee, reported he received results from last year’s ISO visit and is in the process of reviewing the findings.
Center Director Alan Wells said the merger of county 911 operations with that of Farmington’s dispatch operations is going well. Until this year, Farmington had its own emergency dispatch for its police department. The process of transitioning Farmington employees over to the Park Hills center began in mid-April, training continues for dispatchers, and the Farmington system will be retained as back-up.
Wells said he really appreciates the work of Lead Supervisor Chuck Farr, IT Administrator Allen Stegall and MDT/CAD Administrator Steve Worley throughout the transition, which he said should improve emergency dispatch service across the board.
“Joining forces like this should reduce duplication in cost and services, and allows for more uniform delivery in the call-handling process,” Wells said.
Although consolidation expenses were slightly higher than estimated, Wells is pursuing grants that should help make up the difference, he said.
Calls to 911 in April numbered 7,116 or an average of 237 per day. The number declined 14% due largely to the coronavirus stay-home order. Farmington calls will start to be included in May’s numbers.
The center is still largely off-limits to the public, with no visitors allowed past the vestibule, Wells said, to reduce the risk of coronavirus contamination. To that end, he said the center has purchased three, $300, low-end UV light systems to help decontaminate rooms and surfaces throughout the center.
Finally, the board approved a formalized policy on minimum fund balances, just before it approved the 2019 audit prepared by Maloney, Wright and Robbins.
Sarah Haas is the assistant editor for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-518-3617 or at email@example.com.
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