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E911 Flap
Friday, 26 February 2010

February 26--  County leaders in Toombs and Montgomery counties are at odds regarding the E911 service which the counties have shared since its inception in the mid-1990's.  Toombs County Commissioners have asked their counterparts in Montgomery County to pay more of the cost of operating E911.  They say the telephone user fees they receive from Montgomery County telephone users are insufficient to cover the overall costs.  From the Toombs Commission point of view, the deficit is being paid by Toombs County taxpayers only and they would like a share to be paid by taxpayers in Montgomery County.

The Montgomery Commission claims Toombs County is providing a service which is paid for by the users in Montgomery County.  The Montgomery Commission says it has no control over E911 operations and costs and is not prepared to pay tax dollars without a degree of say-so in the system.

The following communications have been exchanged by the two counties as they attempt to resolve the impasse.

FROM TOOMBS CO:

February 16, 2010

Montgomery County Board of Commissioners

Attn: Chairman Brandon Braddy

P.O. Box 295

Mt. Vernon, GA 30445

Dear Brandon;

On February 2nd of this year we met in my office with you, Chairman West, various members of both Commissions and staff. Montgomery County made it clear at that meeting that they did not intend to sign a contract for services with Toombs County. Your letter before that meeting made it clear that Montgomery County had decided to pursue their own E-911 service. We continue to wish you well in that effort.

Pursuant to our long-running communications on the equitable sharing of cost overruns in the provision of E-911 services, the Chairman of the Toombs County Commissioners informed you at that a time, reiterated in detail in my February 3, 2010 e-mail, that the cost on a by-month basis to continue the provision of services would be $3,875 per month retroactive to January of this year.

We have heard nothing further from you at this point other than related to a revisiting of your cost numbers. We have not received any payments due to Toombs County as of today. If there is any misunderstanding please communicate with our office. I believe the e-mail on February 2, 2010 was quite specific however as to our understanding.

Again we wish you well if you decide to establish your own service. You must act in the best interest of Montgomery County just like our Commissioners must act in the best interest of Toombs. As always if you wish to maintain our current relationship the original contract with a per capita coverage of cost overruns remains on the table.

Sincerely,

Douglas R. Eaves

Toombs County Manager

Original E-Mail sent on 2/3/10 from meeting.

From: Doug Eaves [mailto:deaves.toombsco@bellsouth.net]
Sent: Wednesday, February 03, 2010 8:24 AM

Subject: Continued E-911 Cost

Dear Sirs:

Without the formal agreement and as a result of the meeting yesterday the ongoing cost of E-911 to Montgomery County over and above any fees generated will be as follows.

Total Monthly Cost Supplement $3,875

                Based on $15,000 operating divided by 12 months

                And Capital Expenditures divided by 12 months

These fees would be retroactive to January 1, 2010 and payable monthly by the fifteenth of the month.

 All services will remain as is related to E-911 dispatch

Any mapping requirements to continue and maintain services will be borne by the appropriate and effected County

We did not discuss notification of termination. I believe that a ninety day notification is appropriate but defer to Deputy Brown for transition purposes.

Doug Eaves, Toombs County Manager, (912) 526-3311

MONTGOMERY COUNTY'S RESPONSE:

February 25, 2010

Chairman Buddy West & Commissioners

Toombs County Board of Commissioners

Lyons, Georgia

Dear Mr. Chairman & Commissioners:

The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners has been making efforts to resolve the issue regarding the E-911 service for Montgomery County.  The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners has discovered that claims have been made regarding Toombs County supplementing Montgomery County’s portion of the E-911 Center.  This claim is false.  In an effort to move forward and to have closure on this matter, some facts need to be addressed regarding this claim:

 1)                   The E-911 Center in Lyons, Georgia is owned by the Toombs County Board of Commissioners and is operated by the Toombs County Sheriff’s Department.

2)                   The equipment that is used in the operations of the E-911 Center is owned by the Toombs County Board of Commissioners and/or the Toombs County Sheriff’s Department.

3)                   The policy decisions of the Toombs County E-911 Center regarding budgeting, operations, and personnel are made by the Toombs County Board of Commissioners and/or the Toombs County Sheriff’s Department.

4)                   It is important to note that the Montgomery County Board Commissioners or any political subdivisions of Montgomery County have not been mentioned in the above line items 1, 2, and 3.  Should there be any claims stating that Montgomery County has any ownership interest or authority to render operating and budgeting decisions for the Toombs County E-911 Center would be false and inaccurate.

5)                   The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners pays the Toombs County Board of Commissioners all E-911 Fees on a monthly basis to provide E-911 coverage for the citizens of Montgomery County.  In addition, the Toombs County Board of Commissioners collects E-911 fees directly from some citizens of Montgomery County in or near the City of Vidalia.

6)                   The Toombs County Board of Commissioners has accepted E-911 fees from the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners as full payment of services rendered for providing E-911 coverage of Montgomery County.  In addition, the Toombs County Board of Commissioners has accepted direct payment from phone providers that serve citizens in Montgomery County residing in or near the City of Vidalia as full payment of services rendered for providing E-911 coverage.

7)                   In a previous communication from Toombs County Manger Doug Eaves that I received, Mr. Eaves stated that Montgomery County is paying for a service and not equipment.  I will be happy to provide you with a copy of the email from Mr. Eaves stating this fact.

 

I understand that you are requiring Montgomery County to pay cost overruns of the Toombs County E-911 Center on a per capita basis.  The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners refuses to supplement the Toombs County E-911 Center over and beyond the E-911 fees that are collected.   The decisions that led to cost overruns of the Toombs County E-911 Center were a result of policy decisions made by Toombs County and not Montgomery County.  (Please refer to line item 3 from above.) Montgomery County refuses to pay its General Fund revenues for operations of another governmental entity in which Montgomery County has no ability to vote on matters or provide counsel in the operations.  In addition, Montgomery County refuses to pay for capital outlay for Toombs County.  Toombs County simply provides a service for Montgomery County.  Should Toombs County require Montgomery County to pay 25% of cost overruns and capital outlay, then Montgomery County is ENTITLED to 25% of the decision making process for the E-911 Center.

Should the Montgomery County Sheriff elect to cease its own dispatching operations, I will make a request to the Montgomery County Commissioners that Montgomery County remain with the Toombs County E-911 Center if the following items are considered by the Toombs County Board of Commissioners:

 1)       Establish a Toombs-Montgomery E-911 Operating Board of Directors or Oversight Board.  This Board should have representatives from both counties that will provide oversight of the operations of the E-911 Center.  Members of the board should include the Sheriffs, EMA Directors, and some of the Commissioners from each county.  Selection of board members can be negotiable.  This will allow Montgomery County to have a means of communicating questions, suggestions, concerns or grievances with E-911 services being provided for its citizens.  The E-911 Director or Supervisor should serve as the Executive Secretary or Ex-officio member of the board.  It is evident that Toombs County should have a majority of the members on the board with Montgomery County having a minority representation.

2)       The Toombs County Board of Commissioners agree to never charge the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners or a service provider contracted by the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners with additional fees to dispatch an ambulance through the E-911 Center.

3)       The Toombs County Board of Commissioners agree that the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners will have a 25% (or the appropriate pro rata share depending on the population of each county) ownership interest of any equipment or capital outlay that is purchased with Montgomery County’s tax dollars.  Should Toombs County reject Montgomery County having an ownership interest in the equipment, then Montgomery County will not be responsible for purchasing capital outlay for the E-911 Center.  Again, I refer to County Manager Doug Eaves’ email stating that Montgomery County is “paying for a service and not for equipment.”

Please don’t expect our taxpayers to supplement the Toombs County E-911 center without management and staff of the E-911 Center being held accountable to Montgomery County in some fashion.  If a joint board works for Wheeler and Telfair Counties’ E-911 Service, it would work for Montgomery and Toombs Counties as well.

Another issue that will determine if Montgomery County will remain with Toombs County’s E-911 Center, is Montgomery County Sheriff Clarence Sanders’ decision to cease dispatching operations in Mount Vernon and utilizing dispatching services of the E-911 Center.  Should Montgomery County be required to pay a pro rata share of overrun costs of E-911, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department will have to cease dispatching operations.  The Montgomery Board of Commissioners will not fund a duplication of services regarding dispatching operations. 

As I discussed on the phone today, Montgomery County Commissioners will welcome a meeting and tour of the E-911 Center on Tuesday, March 2nd.  Also, I will inform Montgomery County Sheriff Clarence Sanders of the invitation.  I invite you to call Sheriff Sanders and extend the invitation to him personally.

If you cannot agree to the terms outlined above, the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners remains willing to pay only the E-911 Fees to the Toombs County E-911 Center for services rendered.  I will discuss the terms of this letter with the Montgomery County Commissioners and Montgomery County Sheriff Clarence Sanders tomorrow at a special called meeting.  In addition, I will ask the Commissioners and Sheriff for a convenient time to meet this Tuesday.

Thank you for your interest in the continuation of providing E-911 Services for Montgomery County.

Sincerely,

Brandon L. Braddy, Chairman

Montgomery County Board of Commissioners

 

 

 
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