HOUSTON – The loss of revenue at the county E-911 department due to a cancelled contract for dispatching services to the City of Houston had immediate effects, according to Sheriff Jimmy Simmons.
“We had to let go two people,” Simmons said.
Simmons said the best-case scenario would be to have a minimum of two dispatchers on each eight-hour shift around the clock, but said the loss of revenue made him terminate two positions and the shifts will have to be restructured.
“At certain times one person can’t handle it,” Simmons said, adding that at least one dispatcher will be on each shift and two dispatchers will be on high volume or peak time shifts.
“We’re going to keep on going,” Simmons said. “We have to.”
Houston Mayor Stacy Parker said the city’s decision to withdraw from the contract was two-fold in saving money for the town and asking for a more equitable division from other muncipalities to assist funding of E-911.
“Ultimately we have to be good stewards of money for our towns,” Parker said. “We re-evaluate every year from a budget standpoint. The city is being double-taxed. We pay city and county taxes. I don’t have any beef with the other muncipalities, but our $100,000 is supplementing the whole thing. We don’t need to be supplementing the county for 911 services when we are the county, too.”
Simmons said he asked the board to meet again with representatives of the municipalities to try to reach an agreement for assistance in funding E-911.
“I hope the board can meet with all the mayors,” Simmons said.
Supervisor Russell King said he also hoped the cities and county could reach an agreement.
“By everyone pitching in, you get top-notch service,” King said. “Whether you’re in the city or the county, you deserve top-notch service.”
Supervisor Russell Brooks said at the March 3 meeting that he would like to see the four municipalities split the funds that Houston had been putting into the E-911 system to keep it funded at the same level.
“If the municipalities are willing to sit down and talk and do this, we’re willing,” Brooks said.
Three municipalities in the county list have public phone numbers for fire and police.
Fire, 456-4190 (Non-emergency)
Police/Fire, 568-2745, 568-2746