City and county at odds over 9-1-1 service - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City and county at odds over 9-1-1 service

July 28, 2003

Ashburn- The history surrounding emergency 9-1-1 services in Turner County is complicated even for government officials.

As it stands now, Turner County dispatches city and county emergency calls, but county commissioners want Ashburn to pay $132,440 a year to dispatch city police and fire departments.

County Commission chairman Daryl Hall was not available for an interview but did release a statement saying: "The county is asking the city to pay for the higher level of service provided by the city police and fire departments that the county does not have. That's what we're asking them to pay for."

City officials say people living inside the city shouldn't have to pay.

"The citizens of Ashburn are also citizens of Turner County, so why should they pay an extra tax for that service. When they cease to dispatch Ashburn police and Ashburn fire it is not going to change to operational cost of E-9-1-1 one penny," says Ashburn Mayor Bob Honnicutt.

The debate actually goes back to last year's Local Option Sales Tax. When money was divided in December the City of Ashburn took a $120,000 cut which forced them to make cuts to the recreation department. That's when the county started to maintain recreation services.

"No one told them they had to take over full recreation. We did not contemplate giving up a $120,000 of Local Option Sales Tax," adds Hunnicutt.

But Hall says when the city stopped running recreation it broke the agreement which included 9-1-1 services; therefore, making any agreements to provide free dispatching null and void.

Mayor Hunnicutt says he will not let the residents of Ashburn go without police and fire protection. That's one thing chairman Hall agrees with. He says sheriff's deputies and county fireman will respond to city calls even if Ashburn decides not to pay.

Posted at 5:30 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com