Supervisors hear more about E911

Published 7:38 pm Monday, September 24, 2018

Vicksburg Fire Chief Craig Danczyk, vice-chairman of the Vicksburg-Warren E911 Commission, met with the Warren County Board of Supervisors during their Monday work session to “clear-up” the issue of budget funding for 911 and in particular management of the communications center.

At the center of the issue is a proposed $46,000 monthly budget figure for 911. The commissioners on Sept. 12 recommended the Board of Supervisors and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen that the emergency communications system operate on a fixed budget of $46,000 a month for one year. The plan would allow 911 Director Shane Garrard to budget $552,000 as needed for the month and cost the city and the county less. The Board of Mayor and Alderman agree with the proposal, but the supervisors balked at the plan.

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One reason given for opposing the plan was the reluctance of the supervisors to amend the recently passed fiscal 2019 county budget.

Danczyk told the supervisors it would not be necessary to amend their budget and the $46,000 number was one the commission came up with based upon 911 costs per month dating back to 2011.

“The $46,000 figure is an actual working number,” Danczyk said. “Our recommendation was the 911 director has full control of staff and scheduling and the director would not have to justify the periodic fluctuation in cost.”

With an operating budget right around a million dollars for fiscal year 2019, the city currently will be responsible for $646,980 for 911, while the county will pay $348,374, which is about 20 percent higher than a year ago.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr., who also attended Monday’s meeting and is a member of the 911 Commission, believes the $552,000 figure is more actual than the $646,980 number. He believes the budget is overinflated with too much scheduled overtime.

The 17 full-time employees will be “guaranteed or assessed 208 overtime hours. To me, that is a fatigue factor. That will set you up for a workman’s comp claim because it’s built in and an employee can claim he was forced to work it.”

The recommendation from the commission that will be presented to the supervisors is expected to include the 911 director being given the latitude to mix and match the number of full-time and part-time employees he is allowed to hire.

Board of Supervisors President Richard George said the board will look at the request from the E911 Commission and likely vote on it during their regular board meeting Oct. 1.

“The bottom line is, the city and county will split  the cost of dispatchers to provide the community with a dependable, functional 911 service,” George said.