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Supervisors Approve 911 Dispatch Upgrade

District One Supervisor Cayce Washington checks the 911 budget following a request from EMA directors (standing) Stewart Spence and Jarred Logan.

WATER VALLEY – The Yalobusha County Board of Supervisors approved a $375,480 expenditure to upgrade the county’s 911 dispatch system. Located in the Yalobusha County Detention Center, the system provides dispatchers essential information including the caller’s phone number, address and physical location for 911 calls requesting fire, police or medical care.  The purchase was authorized during a recessed meeting held Dec. 27 in the Water Valley courthouse following multiple requests from EMA Director Stewart Spence and Deputy Director Jarred Logan.
“Since October 12 of this year, the 911 system has been down 26 times,” Logan told supervisors.

“What happens when it goes down?” District 4 Supervisor Eddie Harris asked.
“They re-route the calls to Lafayette. Then Lafayette (dispatchers) have to answer our 911 calls and physically call our dispatchers on the phone,” Logan answered.

“Last weekend we were out from Friday morning until Monday morning. I actually got a call from Lafayette wanting to know when we were going to be able to get our calls,” Stewart Spence added.

“This Friday, we went out for five hours, same problem,” Spence said.

Logan and Spence initially requested the upgrade during an earlier meeting on June 26, telling supervisors that replacement parts are no longer available for the 911 system. Logan also explained that the current system was purchased in 2015 when the county’s new jail was completed, adding that the typical lifespan for the equipment is five to 10 years.

The EMA directors’ initial request was taken under advisement by county officials, citing time to research grant options. After learning there were no grants available, supervisors studied budgeted revenue and existing funds in the 911 fund before unanimously approving the request during the Dec. 27 meeting.

“Looking at that, the money is there guys,” Washington noted before the purchase was approved.

The purchase includes an initial payment of $195,480 and five annual installments of approximately $36,000.

“We want to do the best we can for 911 for the people… it’s just the money. But they have been saving for years to get it upgraded, but this is going to make some lean years for you,” District 5 Supervisor Gaylon Gray noted about expense.

“I pulled up the year end for the last fiscal year, if they hold true to that they can easily pay for it,” Washington added about the budget projections.

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