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911 director requests $35K for project

Aug. 16, 2013 @ 07:06 AM

IRONTON — The 911 dispatching center needs another $35,000 to move sheriff’s department dispatchers to the 911 center and have three people to handle emergency law enforcement, fire and ambulance calls per shift, said Lonnie Best, the county’s 911 director.

It will cost an estimated $70,000 for software and a maintenance contract to make the change, Best said Thursday during a Lawrence County Board of Commissioners meeting in Ironton. He has only about $35,000 to cover the cost of the project. “The project has been approved,” he said. “It hasn’t been fully funded.”

Best said it will take a couple of months to make the necessary changes. “Everything we’re doing is based on broadband,” he said. “It’s been a slow process. It’s been a hard process.”

The board also heard a request by Bill Nenni, head of the county’s Airport Advisory Committee, to have someone other than himself serve as liaison concerning a lighting project at the Lawrence County Airpark on County Road 1 west of Chesapeake.

None of the other commissioners agreed to take on the task.

Nenni questioned Commissioner Bill Pratt about what had happened to $19,704 in tie-down fees collected at the small airport which has no fixed base operator.

Pratt said the money had been put in a capital improvement account for the airport. The county is in the midst of an eminent domain lawsuit from an adjacent landowner who has refused to cut down trees to the east and west of the airport, making it hard for pilots to land at the 3,000-foot runway. The money could be used to pay legal fees, Pratt said.

The board last year authorized a lighting project that requires a $28,500 local match for the airport, but didn’t budget money for it in this year’s budget.

Board members did vote to tour the airport, but a date wasn’t announced.

Mike Finley, a Fayette Township trustee, said the county shouldn’t be spending money at an airport that serves only seven county residents with planes at the airport.

In other action, Dennis Gibson, the Chesapeake police chief also working courthouse security, said a program to grow vegetables is going well. About 12 to 16 people are working off community service hours work at farms in the Proctorville and Pedro areas, he said.

“Even though they’re offenders, they’re working hard,” Gibson said. The goal of the program is to grow produce including beans, corn and potatoes that will be used to feed prisoners at the Lawrence County Jail and for other food banks and charities. More than 1,500 pounds of produce has been donated to area food banks, he said.