Fiscal Court considers relocating 911 center

Kelly Paul, AY Editor

Wickliffe - The Ballard County Fiscal Court recently met with Kentucky State Police Post 1 Captain Nathan C. Kent to discuss the procedures and costs of moving the 911 Dispatch  in Ballard from the Detention Center in Wickliffe to the Emergency Operations Center  in La Center.

This comes on the heels of a discussion during the August 31 meeting of the Fiscal Court wherein the matter was discussed, and a call from Post 1 Supervisor of Communications Sharon Clapp, who said the move would cost a great deal of money.

Fiscal Court Magistrates and Judge/Executive Vickie Viniard, along with Ballard County Emergency Management Director Travis Holder and representatives from the 911 Board, met in a special called meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 3.  Captain Nathan Kent with KSP spoke on behalf of Clapp, who could not attend the meeting.

Several factors were discussed that indicated the cost for moving the Secondary Service Answering Point (S-Sap) from the Detention Center to a different location would not be economically feasible for Ballard County.  The Primary Service Answering point (P-Sap) is located in Hickory, KY.

One major cost for the move would include getting telephony and electrical set up in the new location; this has already been installed in the Detention Center and paid for by the Purchase Area Development District (PADD).  If Ballard moved the Dispatch Center, PADD would not pay for the installation.

If the County were to move the Dispatch center, Ballard would be behind other counties as pertaining to the new phone system that is currently being installed.  Per Captain Kent, the installation process began after the first of this year.  The county could see additional monies charged for another site survey and for the scheduling of training that has already been set for Ballard County. Kent said this could cost thousands of dollars.

If Ballard falls behind that installation schedule of the new telephone service, the rest of the partners would have to move forward,  “The consequence for that, the downside, is that it would put Ballard County out of the 911 business for several months,” said Kent.  The telephony in the existing location would not be compatible with the post and the rest of the partner county, according to Kent. This means a call could go into Post at Hickory, who would then have to interview the caller and then call a 10-digit number in Ballard.

Other costs involved with moving the S-Sap would be the hiring of a required seven dispatchers, which would involve training in addition to salaries that would cost more than the incoming money Ballard receives for 911 Services. 

The Fiscal Court did not take action regarding moving the S-Sap, but they did discuss their inclination toward not moving the location based upon the fiscal impact of the move.