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February 6, 2013

County denies New Albany's 911 request

NEW ALBANY — For the third time in less than a year, New Albany Police Chief Sherri Knight came before the Floyd County Commissioners and asked for 911 funds to help pay salaries and benefits for city dispatchers. And for the third time, she didn’t get the answer she was looking for.

Knight, flanked by New Albany City Attorney Stan Robison and New Albany Fire Chief Matt Juliot, asked the commissioners for $300,000 Tuesday night. In a letter she read and sent to the board, she noted that since city and county residents both pay into the fund, it is only fair that the city be granted its request. The funds would be used to “supplement salaries and benefit expenses” of the 12  city dispatchers, she said.

The commissioners control the 911 fund. Knight’s request died for lack of a motion.

Commissioner Chuck Freiberger said there is currently less than $300,000 in the account so there was no way the request could be granted. The 911 fund receives $40,500 a month.

Commissioner Mark Seabrook said in the last 10 years, funds have been “pretty much” split down the middle between the city and county.

“They probably won’t agree with those figures,” he said. 

He also said it is “a waste” for the city and county to each have a dispatch center. In 2011 the city council voted against merging the two centers, despite county officials and then-mayor Doug England being in favor of the move.

Late last year as budgets were being written, Floyd County Police Chief Ted Heavrin, who was president of the Floyd County Council at the time, asked for and received $300,000 in emergency funds from the 911 account to help pay salaries and benefits for county dispatchers. However, the money will only be used as needed on a per-month basis, according to Commissioners’ President Steve Bush. If the money is not all used it will go back into the fund.

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