Commission signs 911 agreement with Fiscal Court

Published 9:03 am Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Danville City Commission approved an agreement to provide 911 services for Boyle County agencies during a special-called meeting Friday.

The agreement was approved by the Boyle County Fiscal Court in a special called meeting on Thursday, after some clarifications were made, said Danville City Attorney Stephen Dexter. The fiscal court also voted to transfer all of the approximately $750,000 in 911-earmarked funds it has to the city.

Kendra Peek/
City Attorney Stephen Dexter answers questions about the 911 agreement reached between the city and county.

Dexter said the agreement refers to shared costs, which are the net costs of operating the city’s 911 center. The net costs are what’s left after subtracting the local landlines tax and state cell-phone fee funding. The net costs would be split between local agencies based on a population formula.

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“It’s a clarification of how it was going to occur practically, but now it’s in writing,” Dexter said.

Another clarification, he said, dealt with the city sharing financial documentation easily with the county, in cases of an audit. Most likely, Dexter said, the city would have done this anyway, but it is now spelled out in the agreement.

Dexter said the county also agreed that 911-earmarked funds collected and received by the county in the future will be transferred to the city as soon as the funds are “reconciled.” He said that would likely occur on a monthly basis. 

The agreement was passed unanimously by Commissioners J.H. Atkins, Kevin Caudill and Rick Serres. Commissioner Denise Terry was absent.

Mayor Mike Perros and commissioners gave Dexter a standing ovation for his work on the project.

Dexter said, “There were a lot of people working on this deal.”

“I’m happy to roll it, push it across the finish line. But this has definitely been a concerted effort by the city manager for making it a priority, this commission for extending pressure to keep it before the public and press for a resolution … I am thrilled that we have this now behind us,” he said.

Perros also noted the efforts of City Manager Ron Scott and County Attorney Lynne Dean in working through the process and agreement. Commissioners thanked everyone for their efforts; Commissioner Rick Serres called the agreement a “win-win.”

Perros agreed and said the real winner is the taxpayers of Danville and Boyle County.

The agreement, said Scott, will lead to better communication among the agencies. The participating agencies will be part of an advisory committee that reviews call center budget issues, policies and actions. And there will now be a formal grievance process, something that wasn’t available before.

“(This) will lead to better communication, better response and better overall service,” he said.

Throughout the discussion process, Perros said, the public perception had been that the city and county did not get along, but that was not the case at all.

“In my opinion, the city and county government have gotten along famously on a lot of things and will continue to do so. This one has grabbed the public’s attention,” he said.

Dexter agreed.

“Disagreement should not be seen as an inability to work together. Disagreement on how issues should be resolved is not only healthy for the development of public policy, but also critical to it … Something like this, you want to have healthy debate, as long as it’s done professionally and fairly to everyone at the table,” Dexter said.

The city and county’s public disagreements over 911 have consumed much of this year, though officials have said previously that the issue has been coming to a head for years.

During the course of 2017, Danville asked the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office and the state 911 board to weigh in on whether Boyle County could continue to hold the 911-earmarked funds in its possession, instead of handing them over to the city. Danville also asked the state auditor to conduct an audit of the county’s 911 funds. And the city threatened to sue the county for  “official misconduct” over the issue.

Boyle County officials alleged unfair practices by the Danville dispatch center that prioritized Danville emergency calls over Boyle County calls. And magistrates formally voted to stop using the Danville center and switch 911 service for unincorporated portions of Boyle County to Bluegrass 911 in Garrard County. They later changed their vote on that matter. 

Dexter said there would likely be few other issues that were as “complex and dynamic” as the discussion around 911 services have been.

“If we can accomplish a solution, a joint solution, to this issue, there truly shouldn’t be any other insurmountable obstacle that we can’t resolve amongst us,” Dexter said.

The Junction City Council and Perryville City Council have not yet signed the agreement.

Editor Ben Kleppinger contributed to this story.