Thumbs up; thumbs down, Dec. 5
Published 8:18 am Tuesday, December 5, 2017
911 issues resolved
The residents of Boyle County can breath a collective sigh of relief this week, after elected leaders finally reached an agreement that will maintain and improve 911 service for everyone.
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For much of this year, Boyle County and Danville officials have been fighting over how 911 service is provided — and more controversially perhaps, how it is paid for. At times, it wasn’t a pretty fight.
As far back as April, verbal grenades were being lobbed between the city commission and fiscal court over 911 funding — specifically which entity should have the more than $700,000 in 911-earmarked money that the fiscal court had been holding in reserve.
During the months that followed, Danville asked multiple state-level offices to investigate the county and even voted to authorize a court filing alleging Boyle County officials had engaged in “official misconduct” by withholding the funds.
Boyle County alleged there were “concerns” about how county responders were being dispatched and communicated with by the city. The fiscal court pursued a plan to leave the Danville 911 call center and use Bluegrass 911 in Garrard County instead for emergency calls placed outside Danville City Limits, which would have created a patchwork map of 911 service for the area.
All the while, Danville’s dispatchers continued to answer the phone and help the people who needed help. Thankfully, it seems the bickering at the top never got bad enough to get in the way of service being provided.
Now, a service agreement is in place — at least for Danville and Boyle County; smaller entities must still sign on as well — that should allow 911 service to continue smoothly for years to come.
As officials on both sides are now willing to admit, the money that they were arguing over for so many months was never the city’s and never the county’s — it always belonged to Boyle County taxpayers.
We think it’s clear both sides got a little eager to prove they were top dog and turned the whole affair into a dominance competition. Fortunately, they came to their senses before any truly drastic steps were taken and decided instead to work as a team.
Danville and Boyle County both deserve recognition for rising above the squabbling and finding a solution. The dispatchers are the real heroes, however. They were handling emergencies before this whole thing blew up, they handled emergencies even while it was unclear what their future would be, and they’ll be handling emergencies tomorrow when the political players have moved on.
We reported last week on how some noticed less activity in downtown Danville this fall, following the closure of five downtown businesses in July and August. But the good news is those lost businesses are already being replaced by new ones popping up, and downtown merchants see the stars aligning for a successful December.
We wrote in August that the downtown business closures were not tied to a unified reason and therefore were likely coincidental. “We could just as easily see an upswing in future months where a bunch of new business openings coincidentally occur at the same time,” we wrote back then.
That may very well be coming true — at least three new businesses have opened or will open soon in the downtown district.
Business owners will always try to put a positive spin on bad news, but in this case we’re apt to agree with those downtown who believe great things are ahead.