The Columbus-Lowndes E-911 Commission will have a new chairperson in 2010.
Current Chairwoman Beverly Broocks announced her resignation Tuesday during the commission”s monthly meeting.
“One of the hardest things I”ve ever had to do is make you all aware that effective Jan. 1, 2010, I”m resigning,” Broocks told fellow board members. “The date is subject to be sooner at the discretion of the (Lowndes County) Board of Supervisors, depending on their announcing the position.”
Broocks, who has chaired the E-911 Commission for close to three years, declined to elaborate on the reason for her resignation.
E-911 Director Sheri Fancher said Broocks” exit will be a major loss for the commission.
“I hate it, because she”s been by my side the whole time,” said Fancher. “I have leaned on her quite a bit and depended on her.”
The Lowndes County Board of Supervisors likely will draw a new commissioner from District 2, the same district Broocks represented on the commission, Fancher said.
Broocks expressed confidence Lowndes County is in good hands.
“I”ve never had an opportunity to work with a finer group of people than I have dealt with here,” she told the board. “Lowndes County is blessed with the finest group of emergency responders anywhere.”
In other business:
n Fancher presented an E-911 budget of $908,087 for 2010, which the commission approved.
Approximately 10 percent of the budget will be supplied jointly by the city of Columbus and Lowndes County. The remainder will be funded by city and county phone revenues.
n The balanced budget excludes raises due to E-911 radio operators. Columbus has placed a freeze on raises in all city departments as it attempts to balance its own 2010 budget.
The City Council will review its finances further to see if money for raises can be replaced, but, Fancher said, she doesn”t expect the raises to return.
n The E-911 2010 budget includes increases in funds marked for insurance, building repairs and legal fees and decreases in funds for phone lines after Bell South lowered its rates.
n Funding for computer software maintenance was removed from the E-911 budget as the software currently used by Columbus/Lowndes E-911 is no longer supported by the Mississippi Automated System Project.
Broocks said E-911 has been receiving charitable support from ASP, but the assistance will end when ASP moves on to new standard software.
“(The ASP has) been under no obligation to give us even the limited amount of technical support they”ve been giving us recently. And once they roll out their own product, that will end effectively. At that point we”re sort of running naked and if (the current software) goes down or develops a major deficiency, (new software) will be an emergency purchase,” said Broocks.
n The commission accepted the resignation of dispatcher Johnathan Scott Brackin.
n E-911 call statistics showed a total of 6,171 calls taken in August. More than half, 3,177, were directed to the Columbus Police Department. The Lowndes County Sheriff”s Office responded to 1,617 calls. Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle responded to 729 incidents and the Lowndes County Coroner”s Office responded to 28 calls.
Jason Browne was previously a reporter for The Dispatch.
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