At the request of the McCracken County Fiscal Court, the Paducah Board of Commissioners and Fiscal Court met together in a workshop at City Hall to hear a presentation from Campbell County (Kentucky) Consolidated Dispatch Center Executive Director Dale Edmondson about the governing structure, funding, and operations of its 911 center. Campbell County’s center is similar to the Paducah 911 Center in number of employees and call volume; however, the governing structure and funding mechanisms are different.
Campbell County’s governing structure began with the approval in 2001 of an inter-local agreement among the Campbell County Fiscal Court, the City of Newport, and the City of Fort Thomas. This agreement created the Campbell County Dispatching Board and consolidated three 911 entities. A consolidated 911 center was constructed in the Newport City Building with services beginning in July 2002. The Dispatching Board is a board of seven public safety members with no elected officials on the board. Edmondson said the membership of the Board has been the key to the dispatching center’s success. “The people who run the show know what is needed.”
Regarding the funding structure, the Campbell County Consolidated Dispatch Center is funded primarily through a service fee placed on the property tax bill on properties with occupied residences or businesses. This $75 per parcel fee replaces the monthly land line fee. Land line fees have been in decline across the state and nation as more people are moving toward having only wireless service. Campbell County won a Kentucky Supreme Court case a few years ago allowing the parcel fee. Edmondson said vacant parcels are not taxed. He further explained that this is a flat fee that is not related to the size or value of the property; it is simply a fee per occupied parcel. A home that is valued at $100,000 has the same fee as a $1 million home. Regarding the fee Edmondson said, “The community has been very supportive. I can’t stress that enough.” The fee increased from $45 per parcel to $75 per parcel over the past year to help cover costs for new 911 center infrastructure. The Dispatch Center also receives revenue through the State Commercial Mobile Radio Service Board (CMRS) through a surcharge fee that the State places on wireless phones.
The Paducah 911 Center operates as a City of Paducah department (911 Communications Services Department) that has service agreements with user agencies including McCracken County and volunteer fire departments. The Paducah 911 Center is the primary Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for Paducah-McCracken County providing 911 emergency and non-emergency services to 65,000 residents. The Center averages a volume of more than 164,000 calls per year. The 911 Communications Services Department was established July 1, 2016 and has 22 full-time employees. Funding sources include fees from user agencies, the wireless surcharge, land line fees, and the City of Paducah General Fund. Paducah’s 911 Center received a Certificate of Accreditation for a four-year term through the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police in August 2016.
Additional information about the Campbell County Consolidated Dispatch Center can be found at http://cccdcky.org/.