Lewis Co. 911 Board to use Marion Co. 911 Center - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Lewis Co. 911 Board to use Marion Co. 911 Center



How would you feel if you had to rely on another county's 9-1-1 center for an emergency? That's what residents in Lewis County are going through and while some say it's wrong, others say it's necessary. 

Lewis County's 9-1-1 center will close at the end of the year because board members said they simply don't have the money to fund it.  An issue on the November ballot could give the center some help by raising the county sales tax to one percent, but the outcome won't matter.  Marion County will still take over.

Lewis County Sheriff David Parrish doesn't like the idea of Marion County taking over the 9-1-1 center in January.  His office put in a bid to take over the service to keep it in the county.

"As long as we stay here, we'll make sure Lewis County citizens are a priority.   We're in control and we decide what types of service we have," Parrish said.  


Members of the Lewis county 9-1-1 Board decided to have Marion County take over.  Despite that, there's still an issue on the November ballot that would increase the county's sales tax to raise money for the 9-1-1 center.  Parrish said he's is skeptical about where that money would go if the issue passes.
"My fear is we are losing or will lose any form of local control. And so we have no idea what this new money would do.  What happens with the other 3/8ths. No one knows and there are no guarantees," he said.  

Lewis County 9-1-1 Board Member Stacey Nicholas said moving services to Marion county is necessary to save money.

"Our taxpayers voted in a level of service. Our sales tax revenue is not enabling us to provide that.  So we have gone with an agency who for a very good price within our budget will provide those services to our taxpayers," she said.  

However, Nicholas said if the ballot measure does pass, it could eventually lead to the 9-1-1 center opening in the future. 
"The extra funds would then be put in reserve so we can build up our reserve and tool up that building and reopen it later as a 9-1-1 center. We have some very serious capital expenditures that probably even if we begin stockpiling we may not be able to meet in 3 years," she said. 

Those three years Nicholas mentioned is the agreed amount of time for Marion County to provide 9-1-1 dispatch services to Lewis County starting in January.  A public meeting on the issue will be held next Tuesday at 6:30 in Moticello.  

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