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Mayors discuss communications center
July 11, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

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At Monday’s council meeting, Gering Mayor Ed Mayo made a brief report on his meeting with fellow mayors regarding the county’s proposed new interlocal agreement for 911 emergency communications.

Gering and all other municipalities in the county received letters from the county board that the county was dropping out of the current interlocal agreement to provide emergency communications as of Oct. 1.
The county proposed a new interlocal agreement that would have all municipalities supporting the comm. center, based on population.
“It was determined that under the county’s proposal, most every community in the county doesn’t have enough budget leeway to get the full benefit of a comm. center,” Mayo said. “Some of the smaller communities couldn’t participate at all.”

According to the county board letter, if communities balked at funding the comm. center, they were free to establish their own emergency communications center because the county would no longer provide the service after Oct. 1.

One possible idea that had been floated was to create an authority that could levy taxes to support comm. center operations, similar to the airport authority created a decade ago. But Mayo said he discovered that under state regulations, the airport authority is still under the county’s lid limit, although it has autonomy to levy taxes.
“We all agreed the county’s new interlocal agreement will have to be retooled,” Mayo said. “We’re currently discussing other options.”
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