05/19/14 — County weighs 911 call center

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County weighs 911 call center

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 19, 2014 1:46 PM

Wayne County commissioners for years have discussed the need not only to expand the county's E911 Call Center, but to add a backup center as well.

The process had been moving along until February 2011 when plans for a $2 million call center were put on hold because of changes in state and federal standards. There has been little discussion about the project since then.

However, Tuesday commissioners could try to jump-start the project by agreeing to a $48,150 study.

The study would focus on options for the expansion, a secondary or backup center, staffing levels, call volume and options to decrease or to eliminate non-emergency calls.

During the earlier discussions, commissioners said non-emergency and administrative-type calls were contributing to the heavy call load. There has been some discussion of adding a station at the call center to handle those calls so as not to tie up emergency lines.

The study also would include an analysis of staffing needs at different times of the day and the adequacy of salaries to attract and to retain qualified employees.

The question of funding for the study will be before commissioners when they meet Tuesday at 9 a.m. An agenda briefing will be held at 8 a.m. followed by a meeting of commissioners sitting as the Board of Equalization and Review.

That board hears property tax appeals.

The meetings will be held in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the country courthouse annex.

Joe Gurley, office of emergency services director, is recommending that commissioners use money he already has in his budget to pay for the study.

The project is not eligible to be funded by the Emergency Telephone System Fund -- the state 911 money appropriated each year by the state to the county from the state's fee on all telephones.

Gurley is further recommending that the job be awarded to Mission Critical Partners.

In other business, commissioners will:

* Consider adopting a resolution of continuing support for the nonprofit North Carolina's Eastern Alliance Corp. that is taking the place of the Eastern Alliance that is being dissolved.

* Hear a recommendation from Interim County Manager George Wood on the county's medical insurance plan for fiscal year 2014-15.

* Hear from Wayne Community College officials on plans for an Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence at the college.

Establishing two public hearings for June 17 at 9:15 a.m. is part of the board's consent agenda. Both would be held in the commissioners' meeting room.

The first is on a request to rezone property at 3337 U.S. 13 South from Residential Agriculture 20 and Village District to Community Shopping.

The second hearing is for a request to rezone property at 5413 U.S. 117 North from Residential Agriculture 20 to Community Shopping.

The Planning Board is recommending that both be approved.

Also on the consent agenda are:

* A request by Berkeley Mall officials for a resolution approving a public fireworks display on July 4 at the mall

* Appointing Bruce Newcomb to the Nahunta Fire Protection District Commission

* Approval of the Wayne County ABC Board's travel policy. The annual approval is required by the state ABC Commission. According to the agenda, the policy has not changed and mirrors the county's policy.