(BEDFORD) - The Lawrence County Council voted to allow Sheriff Sam Craig to hire a new full-time dispatcher.
The dispatcher's salary will be paid through the enhanced 911 emergency dispatch funds for the next several months until next year's budget is approved.
Valerie Luchauer, Lawrence County Emergency Management director and 911 coordinator says the funds are available since Mitchell will be losing their E911 funded dispatcher position at the end of August when the Sheriff's Department becomes the counties centralized 911 dispatch center.
"The new full-time dispatcher will work midnight shift," Craig told the council. "Currently we only have one dispatcher on that shift four days a week and at times it can be hectic. This way once we become the centralized 911 center there will be two to handle the increased amount of 911 calls coming into dispatch."
But this doesn't mean a dispatcher in Mitchell will loose their job.
Luchauer says Mitchell has the funds in their budget to fund the dispatcher.
The new dispatcher at the sheriff's Department will continue to be funded with E911 funds in the 2014-15 budget, if it is approved by the county council.
When E911 funding started, each county was allowed to set its own rate for land-line phones. As more and more consumers added cell phones, the law was changed to allow cell phone users to be billed as well.
Last year, the Indiana General Assembly decided to standardize cell phone fees, and passed a bill which set the fee at 90 cents per phone, per month, for consumers with a cell phone contract. People who purchase minutes pay a 50-cent fee every time they make a purchase.
Craig says when dispatchers are not answering calls they will be doing cleaning and administrative paperwork or other duties at the department.
"We don't want them to sit idle there will be things for them to do," Craig says.
In other business:
Sheriff Craig presented the council with the receipts and disbursements of the commissary fund from January 1 to June 30.
The balance of the fund on December 31, 2012 was $600,028.48
Total receipts for the period were $57,042.92
Total disbursements for the period $42,549.12
Leaving a balance of $74,525.42
Craig then asked the council to spend some of those remaining funds.
He requested $3,195.00 to purchase equipment for the department's Drug Task Force and $4,115 to purchase laptop computers for training. One reason the computer are needed is jailers will have to complete a 4-hour state mandated training. And those who conduct special services at the jail will also be state required to do part of the training.
"Anywhere from an hour to up to four hours," Craig says. "And the training is only avaliable on the web."
The council also approved the proposed Health Department's budget for a Medical Reserve Core grant.
The council approved Assessor April Collins request to hire a new full-time employee because one of her staff members is retiring in August.
The council passed a resolution to distribute the LOIT funds to the county's volunteer fire departments.
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