County to change emergency notification systems
Fiscal Court officially withdraws from EDP

Published 8:21 pm Monday, June 27, 2022

The Fiscal Court voted to change their emergency notification system from Code Red to CivicReady at its June 14 meeting.

IT Director Bill Nichols explained that CivicReady has the potential for better communication between the county and citizens, whereas Code Red has limited offerings.

He said Code Red has a limit on the number of emergency notifications the county can send out before paying extra, and CivicReady has no limits on notifications. CivicReady can also send out general notifications that are not necessarily emergencies, such as heat advisories.

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“This gives us a broader array of information that can be put out to everybody in the public for legitimate awareness of situations, not just emergencies,” Judge Executive Howard Hunt said.

Nichols said the new system is roughly the same price at $8,000 a year. Their contract with Code Red expires in mid July, and the county plans to have the new system running by then.

The Fiscal Court voted to give a 30-day notice to withdraw from the Economic Development Partnership (EDP).

The court previously voted in their 2022-23 budget to no longer financially support the EDP. They allocated $200,000 to the new Economic Development Authority (EDA), which will primarily serve to acquire land for economic development. The EDA is still forming.

Magistrate John Caywood made the motion for the fiscal court to officially remove itself from the EDP board. Magistrate Jamey Gay was hesitant at the motion for 30 days, suggesting they wait a little longer, because then the court would not be part of economic development efforts until the new organizations are formed.

“I think we still need to fully establish what’s replacing the EDP so that we can continue to operate and function in the economic development arena,” Gay said.

The probable plan for the EDP is to replace it with an Economic Development Corporation (EDC), with the EDA under the corporation. The City of Danville has endorsed this concept. The idea is still a concept, as no presentations have been made yet on what it will look like.

Caywood emphasized that the court has already voted to defund the EDP, and the only natural next step is to withdraw from the board. The motion passed five to one, with Gay voting against it.

Gay then made a motion for the court to join Danville in endorsing the concept of EDC.

Magistrate Jason Cullen was hesitant at the motion, saying the court has not seen a presentation on the EDC concept. Magistrates suggested that Hunt gather more information on the EDC concept.

Hunt agreed to enter into discussions with the City of Danville on what the EDC will look like, and Gay’s motion died for lack of a second. Hunt said he will have a report for the next court session.

In other business, the fiscal court:

• Discussed the possibility of creating two new full time EMT positions to staff a fourth ambulance. EMS Director Mike Rogers said that their ambulance runs were the highest they’ve ever been in the last year, and staff has had to work many overtime hours.

He explained that additional staff would help cut down on overtime hours. Having the people to staff another truck would help in situations where all ambulances are in use, and help ensure that vehicles are always available.

• Ended the new employee probationary period for County Treasurer Darlene Lanham.