Funding queried

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Allen County commissioners dropped a financial plum in Iola Administrator Judy Brigham’s lap Tuesday morning, but she won’t know how juicy it is for a while.
A week ago County Commission Chairman Dick Works mentioned the county would take full control of 911 Emergency Service dispatch Jan. 1. The next day, Brigham told a Register reporter she wasn’t aware that was to occur and had included money in the city’s 2010 budget to maintain full-time dispatch from City Hall. That money would become a bonus in the city’s coffers.
Works confirmed the county’s intent, which had been mentioned at previous meetings, but also said that beyond emergency calls, Iola and other cities will be expected to compensate the county for answering calls for utilities and other concerns peculiar to each city.
Brigham said such calls could be answered by City Hall staff during regular weekday work hours, but the county’s help would be needed during nights and off hours. She noted keeping someone at City Hall 24 hours a day would be expensive.
Works and commissioners Gary McIntosh and Rob Francis said they understood, and agreed “something can be worked out.”
“It’s more economical to work together,” McIntosh said.
“It makes more sense to have one center,” Brigham agreed, which Works took to another level
“It makes more sense to have one emergency service (meaning ambulance service), but I recognize that’s not going to happen,” he said.
Which led to another fruit dropping from the county’s financial tree.
Commissioners said they would continue to provide an $80,000 a year subsidy to the city’s ambulance service.
“Right now we’ll follow the rules of the contract we have in place,” McIntosh said.
“But, remember, there’s a six-month cancellation clause,” Works said.