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February 6, 2013

County denies New Albany's 911 request

(Continued)

NEW ALBANY —

Knight said since the county received 911 funds to help pay dispatchers’ salaries, it was only fair for the city to receive the same courtesy. In her letter she states that in 2012, the city spent $678,000 operating the communication center, with salaries and benefits totaling $642,000. She said without 911 funds, money would have to be taken from other areas to cover the expenses.

“We should be able to use that money instead of using other public safety funds,” Knight said.  

Both Bush and Freiberger said they granted Heavrin’s request because it was an emergency, even though the 2013 budget had not yet been certified.

“We gave him the monies for one year only,” Freiberger said. “I agree, city residents pay into the fund and we need to be as fair as we can be and I think we have been. Right now we don’t have the monies available.”

Knight first asked for $100,000 in April and $300,000 in July of last year. She said in her letter that she was told by Bush it was policy not to apply 911 funds toward salaries or benefits in July. However, since funds were given to the sheriff’s department for dispatchers’ salaries late last year, she said that “I am now requesting that the commissioners examine an equitable outlay of funds with regards to the shift in former policy.”

Bush said for the last 13 years the city has not paid rent to be on the 911 tower. And in 2004, the county gave the city $500,000 for a dispatch center out of 911 funds.

Robison said after the meeting that New Albany Mayor Jeff Gahan would likely meet with county officials to try and work out an agreement on the request.

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