County adjusts share of 911 center costs

By Mary Katherine Murphy

April 9, 2014

LAURINBURG — As both boards continue to discuss the issue, on Tuesday the Scotland County Board of Commissioners amended the drafted memorandum of understanding between itself and the Laurinburg City Council outlining funding to the emergency call center currently under construction.

Chairman Guy McCook suggested a change to the memorandum to increase the county’s share of personnel costs from 66 percent to 66.7 percent and reduce city’s share from 34 percent to 33.3 percent. The term of the memorandum will also decrease from five years to three.

The cost to hire 12 full-time dispatchers to handle all 911 calls made in the county, as well as a director and part-time staff, is expected to be around $701,354. The county will assume all other operating costs for the center.

Also on Tuesday, the commissioners approved the creation of the 911 director’s position. With a hiring date of July 1, that position will have no effect on current budget, but will enable recruitment for the position.

“We need someone to go ahead and start to work on additional planning and work on coordinating the training that’s going to have to be done between the current dispatchers, because our goal is to have all of the telecommunicators trained in all the required disciplines before the facility is up and running,” said County Manager Kevin Patterson.

The 911 director will be hired within a salary range of $51,432 to $61,128.

In other business, the commissioners heard from Eastpointe Area Director Ken Jones on the mental health agency’s 2013-2016 business plan. Eastpointe serves Scotland and 11 other counties in the region, contracting with some 20 health care providers and counselors in the county to serve clients suffering from mental illness, intellectual or developmental disability, and substance abuse issues.

“There is a whole array of services that we do provide,” Jones said. “Most of those services are covered through Medicaid, a lot of those services are covered by dollars that we get from the state to cover the indigent population.”

The agency disburses some $270 million annually to cover care costs. It also maintains a 24/7 call center in Robeson County, manned by licensed clinical social workers.

The commissioners also heard from Scotland County Schools Assistant Superintendent for Auxiliary Services Larry Johnson, who brought them up to date on the installation of panic alarms at each school and installation of GPS systems on school buses.

Register of Deeds Debra Holcomb, along with Courthouse Computer Systems President Charlie Roederer, updated the commissioners on the digitization of historical records in the Register of Deeds’ office. All records since 1967 have been fully digitized for accessibility via Internet.

Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-276-2311, ext. 17. Follow her on Twitter @emkaylbg.