County Board Votes Against 911 Study Participation


Published on August 30 2012 5:49 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

The Effingham County Board Thursday voted 5-3 against participating in the cost of a 911 feasibility study.

The study would have given an outside agency the opportunity to gauge whether 911 should continue to use two dispatching at the sheriff's department, one at the police station...but would also look into the makeup of the 911 board. 

Two members who voted against participating...Jim Niemann and Bob Shields...said they see the merits of the study, but fear that the information would be stale by the time Next Generation technology becomes available that would be incorporated into the system.  Niemann and Shields also liked that the price tag for the study is much less than what was first projected, but uncertainties over the shelf life of the findings led them to vote against the motion. 

Also voting No were board members Rob Arnold, Wayne Russell and Dave Campbell.  Those who voted for participating in the cost of the study...which would have been $13,400 for the County...were Karen Luchtefeld, Chairman Carolyn Willenburg and Jeff Simpson.  Simpson saw the value of the findings and the price tag for the study as reasons to move ahead and Luchtefeld said she still has the same questions about the current 911 set-up as she's had for many years.

Board member Larry Vahling was not present for the meeting.

The Effingham City Council indicated earlier this month that they would favor moving ahead with the study and chipping the City's $13,400 share of the cost, but the matter was only on the City's agenda for discussion.  The 911 Board...the third leg of the stool as far as funding the study...tabled the matter earlier this month.

The County Board also voted on whether to contract with SIMEC as a consultant on promoting an electric aggregation effort in the county, but the vote ended in a 4-4 tie.  Had the effort moved ahead, the issue would have been promoted in advance of a ballot vote in the November election.  If voters approved the measure in November, those who live in the unincorporated parts of the county would be banded together to purchase electricity with the hope of cheaper rates due to the volume of people seeking to buy the power.  Affected residents would have the option to opt out of the group.

There is still the possibility another vote on the measure could occur next month.

The Board also voted 5-3 in favor of a new contract for copier services with TAP Business Systems.  TAP currently is the county vendor and offered the County the opportunity to renew the agreement in advance of the current contract's expiration. 

Some board members wondered what was the hurry and suggested competitive bids should be taken.  State's Attorney Ed Deters said state law does not require bids to be sought.

Niemann, Luchtefeld, Shields, Simpson and Willenburg voted for the new contract, while Campbell, Arnold and Russell voted No.