City, county settle on different 911 costs

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 6, 2001

[11/06/01]In separate meetings Monday, city and county officials adopted different agreements for the joint funding of 911 services, but the price for city taxpayers differs by nearly $83,000.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen also approved an agreement that would base the cost of ambulance service for Warren County residents on population. The cost to county taxpayers would be about $40,000 more than last budget year if supervisors approve the deal.

City and county residents have shared the fire department-based public ambulance service since 1967 and the combined 911 dispatching center since 1989. Both services are funded in part by supplements from both governments based on contracts.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

Under the agreement passed by the Warren County Board of Supervisors for 911 services, the city would fund 75 percent of the salaries of dispatchers and the county the remaining 25 percent.

But, the agreement passed by Vicksburg would make the city responsible for 53.2 percent of the cost and the county 46.8 percent. Mayor Laurence Leyens said the amounts were based on the percentage of Warren County residents living within the municipal limits of Vicksburg.

“City taxpayers live in the county and pay county taxes, too,” Leyens said. “We’re trying to stop this double-dipping.”

Leyens had said in August when the 911 Commission proposed the 75-25 percent split that it would be unfair to city taxpayers because they would also be paying a portion of the county’s share.

Under that plan, the city’s share would be $285,776 and the county’s $95,258. Under the city’s plan, Vicksburg taxpayers would contribute $202,710 and the county’s share would be $178,324.

Richard George, president of the board of supervisors, said he had not been notified by the city of their proposal.

“We followed what the 911 Commission already approved,” George said. “And we all know who is on that commission.”

Leyens serves on the 911 Commission and had voted in favor of the budget that recommended the 75-25 percent. At the time, he had said he was still opposed to the city having to fund that much of the cost, but that he agreed with the total amount being sought for 911 funding.

The dispatching center is also funded by monthly surcharges on residential and business telephone bills. Expenses include payments for use of phone company data, dispatcher salaries, benefits and training and equipment.

Supervisors also approved an increase in the phone surcharges that fund 911. Effective Oct. 1, monthly phone surcharges went from 80 cents to $1 for residential lines and from $1.66 to $2 for businesses. Cell phone users are also assessed $1 per month.

For the ambulance service, city officials are asking supervisors to pay about $291,600 for responses outside the city limits. That’s up from $250,000 the county paid for the fiscal year that ended last month.

That amount is also based on the percentage of people who live in Warren County outside of the municipal limits.

George said he also had not been made aware of the proposed ambulance agreement.

In other matters, the city board:

Presented a certificate of recognition to the city’s building and maintenance crew.

Executed a lease agreement with Advantage Business systems for a folding and inserting system used for water and gas bills. The machine costs $642 per month.

Accepted a franchise check from Entergy in the amount of $203,924.

Approved $748 to fund a Veterans Day program at noon Saturday at the City Auditorium.

Approved a request by the Community Council of Warren County to allocate a $20,000 grant in $5,000 increments.

Adopted a resolution approving an agreement with Warren County for tax collector and tax assessor services. The city will pay $25,000 per year for the service.

Adopted a resolution to set a $10 assessment on moving-violation tickets. The funds collected by the assessment will fund radio equipment for the police department.

Set a public hearing for 10 a.m. Nov. 19 for special assessment on seven properties demolished by the city.

The city board was scheduled to meet this morning and will meet again at 10 a.m. Friday at City Hall Annex.