Commission, E-911 board continue talks

Published 2:23 pm Thursday, March 3, 2011

Budgets and E-911 funding became the subject of a heated debate during Monday’s County Commission meeting.

Several members of the E-911 board were in attendance, and chairman David Sanders said they didn’t appreciate the way the funding problem was approached at the last meeting.

“We felt like our honesty, integrity and efforts were in question when all you had to do was ask us what you wanted,” he said.

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Commissioner Merrill Sport refuted that suggestion, saying that he had nothing against the E-911 board.

“I’m not anti-you guys,” he said. “If I was in your shoes, I couldn’t do any more than what you’ve done.”

Sport went on to say that he is fighting to get funding through cell phone revenue for rural counties and that the earliest legislation can get passed will be 18-24 months.

“I’m not trying to question your integrity — I’m just trying to say that you can’t get blood out of a turnip,” he said.

Several other issues were raised about the complexity of running E-911.

“There’s more to it than answering a telephone,” said E-911 board member Stephen Wilson.

E-911 director Scott Stricklin also asked if Sport had looked into the bills and other expenses for E-911.

“That’s what I’ve been asking for,” Sport said.

“We’ve got to figure out a way to stretch to cover the budget this year, but what are we going to do about next year?” Sport also asked. “It’s going to be at least 18 months before we can get legislation to fix it. I can’t say that I have all the answers.”

Commissioner Charlie Sankey pointed out that in order for an operation like E-911 to work in Crenshaw County, everyone would have to work together, and that losing the service isn’t an option.

“We’ve got one common problem: revenue,” Sankey said. “In Crenshaw, if we do not work together, you can kiss it [goodbye].”

“We’ve all got our backs against the wall,” Commission Chairman Ricky McElwain agreed.

In other business, the Commission approved a bid for a used pothole patcher for the road department.

The Commission also agreed to let county engineer Benjie Sanders look into the question of ownership and easements for areas of Tyner Street in Dozier at the request of the Dozier Town Council in order to begin work to help alleviate flooding problems