HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (10/2/13) – Hopkins County Fiscal Court agreed to enter into an interlocal agreement with Madisonville and Dawson Springs to proceed with a new Central Dispatch facility during its regularly scheduled bi-monthly meeting Tuesday, Oct. 1.
The Hopkins County Building and Grounds Committee suggested tabling the agreement during the Sept. 17 Fiscal Court meeting, a day after Madisonville City Council approved it and weeks after Dawson Springs agreed to it.
A second committee meeting was held Sept 24 with Judge-Executive Donnie Carroll and Sheriff Frank Latham and the committee.
The third meeting prior to the Oct. 1 Fiscal Court meeting, the consensus was mostly favorable to the agreement but seemed cinched after Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy Crick offered insight in to the situation.
"I believe there's a half million dollar grant riding on the fact that dispatch is going to be open and operational by April," said Crick. "In order to have that, they have to have the agreements in place. That comes from FEMA. The fire departments applied for these grants on good faith that everything would be intact, and they have to able to show good faith by having the agreement signed and in place. That's the time sensitivity of it."
County Attorney Todd P'Pool noted that the agreement includes a 90-day exit agreement if any of the entities should become dissatisfied with it.
Most of the discussion from committee meetings revolved around the staffing of the new dispatch and who would be in charge of those staff members — the sheriff, the Madisonville police chief or the 911 Advisory Committee chair.
But the clock was ticking for time to make the agreement in order to pursue grant money to renovate a 1,200-square-foot space at the historic Hopkins County Courthouse. If the renovation and operation of the facility doesn't begin by April 1, the grant money could be lost.
After a Madisonville 911 Advisory Council meeting Sept. 11, SurfKY News reported that the council agreed to present its recommendation for an interlocal agreement to the Madisonville City Council Sept. 16 and the following day to the Hopkins County Fiscal Court. During that 911 meeting, it was established that the Madisonville 911 Advisory Council would likely be upgraded to an official Hopkins County 911 Advisory Council with representation from the entire county.
The interlocal agreement was expected to streamline through the city and county but hit a snag from some Fiscal Court members' reserve about who will be in charge of the staff.
Emergency dispatch for all the county except for Dawson Springs is being dispatched out of a 300-square-foot office within the Madisonville Municipal Building. The county has agreed to allocate space in the old courthouse to accommodate the new facility along with new technology and equipment that cities like Earlington have obtained through grant funding. Until the new facility is renovated, there is no space for new equipment.
Magistrate Chris Toney, chairman of the building and ground committee, made a motion in the Oct. 1 to approve the agreement, which passed unanimously.
In other Fiscal Court business, appointments of Keith Cartwright, Jack Morris and Howard Jones were approved to the Hopkins County Ethics Committee.
It was also announced that the Fiscal Court will meet Oct. 16 instead of Oct. 15 due to an I69 Conference in Madisonville that day.
Rita Dukes Smith
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