J.P. explains 911 service rate issues in Independence Co.

Issues with Independence County 911 services
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

INDEPENDENCE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Residents of Independence County are upset with the possibility of losing their 911 service after the Batesville mayor threatened to take it away in a letter to the county judge.

Sherry Vick lives in Newark and said those in the county should not be the ones who pay if the county and city are unable to come to an agreement over the service rates.

Justice of the Peace Gary Bridgman explained the problem appeared after Batesville decided to create their own police department.

This decision dissolved an agreement between the county and the city but they decided to keep dispatch together.

Bridgman said at the time of the agreement, the city received money for 911 services from people with cell phones and the county received money from people with landlines.

He said the county also paid about $70,000 to the city for the services but recently the rate has come into question.

Bridgman said each county has their own ideas for how the rate should be determined.  "The city says, it should be based on the population," Bridgman said. "[The city has] 30% of the county population, [the city] should pay 30%. The county has 70% of the population, they should pay 70%.The county says, and I agree with this, that it should be based on use."

Bridgman said many different things could happen, which include keeping dispatch together or the city and county providing their own 911 service.

He said nothing would be determined until both parties sit down and discuss what the rate should be.

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