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Silex seeks options for 911 service

Posted on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 at 7:00 am

By Austin Groshong

The city of Silex is considering throwing its hat into the ring of future handling of emergency communications to serve the city.
The board of aldermen voted unanimously to pursue and communicate with the city of Troy in receiving a contract for 911 services at the monthly board meeting on Aug. 14. The decision comes after the city of Troy said they were considering starting their own 911 dispatch service.
This discussion comes after the county raised 911 dispatching fees to the political entities its serves. City Administrator and Chief of Silex Police William Barnes says that the city’s dispatching fees would be going up to $7,000 next year from $4,676.13.
“Not only did ours increase, but Winfield’s, Troy’s Moscow Mills in different ways also went up,” he said.
Barnes said that the city of Troy was discussing the option of having the city’s own dispatch service. After talking with Troy Mayor, Mark Cross, Barnes said that Silex was offered the chance to contract with Troy, if Troy decided on starting the dispatching service.
Board President Justin Spanier said that he was in favor of switching due to long response time.
“It takes 45 minuets to an hour for us to get a response,” said Spanier. “We are getting nothing for $7,000.”
The rising 911 rates stem back to last November when the Lincoln County 911 board proposed a 30 percent rate increase, which was later passed by the county commissioners. Since then Moscow Mills, Winfield and Troy have looked into alternative 911 service providers.
“The problem is that the dispatch rates are going up so high, it’s actually higher than salaries of several officers in Troy,” said Barnes. “They almost pay more for dispatch than they do for the police department. Our rates are going up to $7,000 and our call line is nowhere near what it is in Winfield.”
Barnes said that the other agencies were concerned that the rates would continue to rise each year.
Mayor Mark Cross says that Troy has not decided on a service provider at this time. Barnes said that in the case that Troy decides on providing their own service, Silex will have to pass an ordinance in order to contract with the city.