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Local News

Unicoi 911 board not able to add members

July 26th, 2011 12:18 pm by Brad Hicks

ERWIN — It appears the Unicoi County 911 Board of Directors will be legally unable to comply with the town of Erwin’s request for the town to have more representation on the board.
The board met Monday, with discussion of changing and/or reviewing the board’s by-laws on its agenda. Board member Bill Hensley proposed discussion of this topic, to see about adding Erwin Police Chief Regan Tilson to the board.
Earlier this month, the Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the town’s budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year. Contained within the budget is a contribution of $35,000 from the town to the county’s 911 service. Prior to the passage of the town’s budget, Erwin aldermen had discussed including a stipulation that the town receive more representation on the 911 board.
The mayor of Erwin currently represents the town on the county’s 911 board, and Erwin officials were wanting to see the police chief added to the board.
Jim Barnes, fiscal director for the state’s Emergency Communications Board, was in attendance at Monday’s meeting and confirmed what Unicoi County 911 Director Patsy Ledford had said earlier in the meeting — the county’s 911 Board of Directors could not exceed nine members under Tennessee code.
Barnes said there are exceptions to this in several emergency communications districts across the state, but he said these exceptions are based on population and Unicoi County is not included with the districts able to exceed nine board members.
Only a change in legislation would allow emergency communications districts outside of those that have been granted exceptions to have more than nine members on the board, Barnes said.
Barnes also discussed four additional actions the county’s 911 service must take since it has been determined to be “at risk” of becoming financially distressed by the state’s Emergency Communications Board due to three consecutive years of negative changes in its net assets.
First, Barnes said the county’s 911 board must submit a balanced budget to the state board, and expenditures must include the estimated value of depreciation for equipment. The county board must also submit a written status report to the state board by the end of August outlining how the county’s 911 service intends to meet its financial obligations. Also, minutes from each meeting of the county 911 board must be sent to the state board. Finally, Barnes said the county board must work with the state to ensure the 911 service stays in the black financially.
The county 911 board recently approved the 911 service’s budget for the fiscal year, and the budget reflects a positive change in net assets.
Barnes also briefly discussed money available from the state that the county could be reimbursed for, to be used for items such as equipment purchases.
In other business, the board elected its officers for the fiscal year. Jim Pate will serve as chairman, Ed Herndon will serve as vice-chairman and Bill Hensley will serve as treasurer.

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