With help from Sharp County cities, Judge Joe Stidman hopes to solve the county's funding dilemma with the county's central dispatch center.
The Sharp Quorum Court unanimously agreed at the Sept. 12 meeting to have Stidman contact local officials to see if the county cities would contribute funds for the center which provides services to city police and fire departments.
"The telephone surcharge for 9-1-1 services is not adequate to fund dispatch center operations," Stidman said. "The county is utilizing its general revenue funds to supplement the surcharge fees. This impacts other county services negatively."
The county isn't asking for help with the 9-1-1 services, but instead is seeking help with the other services the center provides for emergency personnel such as license plate checks, driver's license checks, name and date of birth checks and criminal history.
The dispatch center's budget is estimated at $219,125, Stidman said. The county's estimated revenue from 9-1-1 surcharge fees for the year is $89,250. It's the remaining $129,875 Stidman hopes the cities will help provide.
For the 2005 budget the county anticipated revenues for central dispatch in the amount of $231,000, with $95,000 from phone company fees, $19,000 from cellular fees and $117,000 provided by the county general fund, said Sharp County Treasurer Wanda Girtman.
In hopes to reduce the county's burden Stidman has developed a plan based on the formula the Arkansas State Treasurer's Office uses to distribute sales tax receipts.
Based on the funding formula, the county would be required to pay the most at $59,937.31, 46.15 percent. Cherokee Village would pay $29,130.96, 22.43 percent. Cave City would pay $14,299.24, 11.01 percent. Highland would pay $7,480.80, 5.76 percent. Ash Flat would pay $7,402.88, 5.70 percent. Hardy would pay $5,519.69, 4.25 percent. Evening Shade would pay $3,532.60, 2.72 percent. Sidney would pay $2,090.99, 1.61 percent. Williford would pay $480.54, .37 percent.
Stidman said the rate could be prorated if the cities are open to the funding proposal.
"We'll take the help this year if we can," Stidman said.
Highland has helped with funding Sharp County Central Dispatch in the past, Stidman said. Cherokee Village had its own dispatch center for several years until the Cherokee Village Suburban Improvement District contracted with the county to provide dispatch, said JP Greg Prenger, who is also an SID commissioner.
"It's a real savings for them," he said. "If they had to have their own it would be ridiculously high."
At the Aug. 8 meeting JP Darrell Kehrli said a central dispatch office would cost more than $45,000 in salaries alone operating 24 hours a day seven days a week.
"It's a fair proposition," Kehrli said.
The mayors, judge and members of the quorum court will meet to discuss the proposal at 10 a.m. Sept. 29 at the courthouse.