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County discusses 911 system

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By Brandon Mattingly

It was announced at a regular scheduled fiscal court meeting on Monday that Washington County will be undergoing a change in its 911 system in the near future, according to local Emergency 911 board member Kevin Devine.
The public-safety answering point (PSAP) system currently in use was adopted only three-and-a-half years ago, but Devine said the change will be a long-term financial advantage to the county.
Also making the switch are Nelson, Shelby, Oldham and Bullitt counties, and the five counties have been discussing working together to everyone’s benefit.
“Our whole goal is to make it cheaper on everybody,” Devine said. “With the counties coming together we’ll have a redundancy system also, so if one site goes down, the other sites pick it up and we won’t lose any 911 calls. This regional approach will change things down the road and we’re working with the other counties on some other projects too.”
Devine said it is also possible that others will join the five-county arrangement at a later date.
The current system is supported by the company Positron -- which was recently bought out by a Colorado-based company -- and is under a five-year contract that offers lowered maintenance fees, but Devine said those fees will take a drastic hike at the end of the five-year period to nearly $4,000 per month. The proposed new system, which is offered through AT&T, offers maintenance fees at less than $3,000 per month.
“We’re getting rid of a system that’s not very old is the downfall of it, but in the long-run this is going to save us money and that’s what we have to look at,” Devine said.

EMS hires
EMS director Mark Hale addressed the re-hiring of paramedic Sherri Willett. Willett, who previously served 14 years with the Washington County EMS, resigned from her position in March to accommodate her move to Florida.

Other news
Washington County Judge-Executive John Settles presented a $54,000 reimbursement to the county for work done on the Tatham Ridge Road bridge. Also, a $6,000 grant from the Springfield Tourism Commission was accepted, which will free the court to advertise for a part-time museum coordinator for the new Lincoln Legacy Museum. A committee of Settles, magistrate Benjamin Settles and Springfield Tourism Commission executive director Kathy Elliott will report on the hiring at the next fiscal court meeting.
Finally, the court agreed to its annual $500 donation to Adult Leadership Washington County and to provide support to the Washington County Chamber of Commerce at the sixth-annual Kentucky Crossroads Harvest Festival next month. The county will cover the cost of portable toilets, as well as provide picnic tables, electrical access and county workers to help with clean-up.
All magistrates were in attendance. The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 9 a.m.