CAMBRIDGE, Ohio — The Guernsey County Sheriff’s Office will ask voters to support a 9-1-1 communications levy when they take to voting booths this November.
Guernsey County Sheriff Jeff Paden announced on Friday that historic levels of drug-related crime, as well as new state requirements for 9-1-1 call centers, has necessitated the need for a one-mill, 9-1-1 Public Safety Communications levy. The ongoing levy is expected to generate between $800,000 and $900,000 for the sheriff’s office each year.
Sheriff Paden says that new state regulations require each 9-1-1 call center in the state to have two dispatchers, each medically trained, on duty 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week. This is expected to add $400,000 in operating costs during the first year, and $320,000 each year after that.
If Guernsey County can’t comply with the new regulations, Sheriff Paden says his office will lose their Public Safety Answering Point designation, and 9-1-1 calls would have to be handled through another county’s call center, potentially resulting in longer response times during emergencies.
Dave Wilson, President of the Guernsey County Commissioners, said that the last thing the Commission wants is to place a levy on the ballot, but, “for the second-straight year, we’re operating with a $1.2-million general fund budget deficit and the additional dollars just aren’t there.” Wilson said the deficit will be compounded when looming federal government changes prohibit counties from collection of sales tax from goods and services provided through Medicaid Managed Care Organizations (MCOs).
Sheriff Paden stated that his office “will continue to provide the best protection and service possible for the residents of Guernsey County while using local tax dollars wisely.” He added, “We’re not just asking for your levy vote and support – we want to earn it!”