Spencer City Board holds brief council meeting, discusses 911

by | November 2, 2017 7:52 am

The Spencer city board members discussed once again funding requests that are being made by the Van Buren County E-911 Board. (Photo by BOBBY MCCULLEY)

During the Oct. 26 Spencer Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting, only three items were on the agenda, two of which involved continuing discussions about funding for the Van Buren County E-911 Communication District.

The local E-911 district is an independent board that receives funding from the state, as well as funding from the City of Spencer and Van Buren County, to provide dispatching services for the emergency services within the two municipalities.

During the Aug. 31 Spencer board meeting, Brian Bricker, chairman of the Van Buren County E-911 Communications District, addressed the city board about a request to increase the city’s contributions to the E-911 service. Reportedly, the E-911 board has stated that because of the lack of increased funding from the City of Spencer and the increase in calls received by E-911 and calls being dispatched for the City of Spencer, the E-911 service has been place in a dire situation.

According to the presentation given by Bricker, the call volume has risen within the city and has caused the E-911 board to have to hire an additional dispatcher to handle the call volume.

However, according to dispatching call data pulled during the period of July 2016 to June 2017, the City of Spencer accounted for approximately 23 percent of the call volume to E-911. Van Buren County accounted for approximately 77 percent of the call volume, with 54 percent of the calls being dispatched to Van Buren County Sheriff Department.

The City of Spencer only has approximately 28.69 percent of the population within the city limits. The remaining 71.31 percent of the population resides in the county.

The E-911 board went as far as placing the City of Spencer on notice, that if officials did not increase E-911’s contributions, the city would have to take over its own dispatching. The time line initially given to the City of Spencer was three months, which is when the E-911 board would reportedly run out of funding.

The City of Spencer contributes approximately $28,500 to the Van Buren County E-911 Communications Center. The E-911 board has previously requested that the city double its contribution. However, the city board has not taken any action on that matter.

During the most recent Spencer city board meeting, the E-911 board once again requested that the city board consider increasing its contributions. Additionally, the E-911 board has requested the city provide an additional $7,000 for upgrades to the Van Buren County E-911 dispatching system.

Also, requests have been made to Van Buren County, as well, to significantly increase its contributions. However, the Van Buren County Commission already provided an increase from $51,700 to $62,040 during the 2016-2017 fiscal budget year.

After discussions of the funding requests by the E-911 board to the City of Spencer, the matter was tabled until a joint meeting between the City of Spencer, Van Buren County, and the E-911 Board is held, on Nov. 13.

Other items that were addressed by the City of Spencer Board of Mayor and Aldermen included:

-Approval of the minutes form the previous board meeting

-Donation of $250 toward the Spencer-Van Buren County Veterans Dinner

-Approval of the purchase of 60 turkeys to be distributed by a local food bank for the upcoming holiday season

The City of Spencer Board of Mayor and Aldermen will hold its next meeting at 5:30 p.m., Nov. 30, at Spencer City Hall.

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