News : City Takes Issue with Call Center Agreement
Laurinburg, July 16, 2014 -- The Laurinburg City Council identified several points of contention in the Scotland County Board of Commissioners’ latest draft of an agreement to govern funding of the emergency call center under construction on West Boulevard.
The bulk of the center’s operational funding will be assumed by the county, with the city funding a portion of the personnel costs. The center will serve as the hub for all emergency services dispatchers in the county — the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office, Laurinburg Police Department, Scotland County EMS and all county and city fire departments.
The city has agreed to contribute one-third of the center’s personnel costs annually for three years. Council also set a final date of 2024 as the end to any city funding. But the county commissioners in their most recent revision eliminated the agreement’s three-year term as well as that 10-year end date.
The county’s version of the agreement also indexes the city’s contribution after the first year to cost of living pay adjustments made by the city for its employees.
"I thought that once the dispatchers go, once they are at that 911 call center, they are no longer city employees," said council member J.D. Willis. "So why would the COLA that the city gives to its employees have an impact on those three or four personnel?"
Council member Drew Williamson added that the 10 year end date may be negotiable, but all council members said that a permanent commitment to the center would be a "dealbreaker."
"We were all led to believe that the trend is for these to be county operations and so, as a result of that, we were saying that we should be sort of gradually removing ourselves and turning it over to the county, but it doesn’t sound like they want it," Williamson said.
The council also disputed a clause in the agreement giving the county the final decision in future funding disputes should mediation fail, directing city attorney Bill Floyd to refer all three points back to the county.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, July 17, 2014