9-1-1 issue headed for May ballot

By Alberta Stojkovic - The Sentinel

MOUNT GILEAD — Morrow County Commissioners approved the resolution to place an increase in charges for the 9-1-1 Dispatch Center on the May 8 primary election ballot.

Commissioner Tom Whiston said the increase in assessment from $25 to $50 per year on an improved land parcel is needed for several reasons. He mentioned the importance of keeping up to date with dispatch equipment, but also the retention of quality dispatchers.

9-1-1 Dispatch Supervisor Keith Acker said that there has been an 18 percent increase in 9-1-1 calls in just the past five years. 95 percent of the calls now come in on cell phones. This requires a special upgrade in equipment to locate the caller to determine where the emergency assistance is needed.

Much of the equipment now in use at 9-1-1 dispatch center is from when the service was established in 1992.

The issue failed by 1,320 votes last November.

Acker said that another necessary purchase for 9-1-1 will be an Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) System. It has been mandated by the state that 9-1-1- centers all have Emergency Medical Dispatch. EMD allows medical personnel to dispatch medical help in an emergency over the phone. They can talk people through emergencies such as CPR or cardiac arrest.

Another reason for county residents to pass the levy is for retention of 9-1-1 personnel. Whiston said that 99 percent of dispatchers live in Morrow County and they are trained here. Then many leave to work in neighboring counties that provide benefits and pay more.

Morrow County Auditor Pat Davies explained the way the assessment for 9-1-1 is made. It is not a levy, but a one-time yearly amount placed on an “improved land parcel.”

She said that an improved land parcel is basically a property with a building, or buildings on it. The assessment will be broken down into two parts of $25 paid in February and July.

Extension for dog tag licenses

Davies said that the Auditor’s office will extend the purchase of dog tag licenses through Feb. 28 without penalty.


By Alberta Stojkovic

The Sentinel