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More towns sign 911 agreements
December 19, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

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At its regular Monday meeting, the Scotts Bluff County Commission approved signatures on an amended interlocal agreement to fund technology upgrades to the county emergency communications center.

Municipalities signing the agreement include McGrew, Terrytown, Mitchell, Lyman, Henry and Morrill. Melbeta and Scottsbluff had signed onto the agreement earlier.

Gering and Minatare are more problematic. Both cities filed an injunction in Scotts Bluff County District Court Dec. 10. They were seeking an injunction to prevent the county from stopping dispatch services to any municipality that hadnít signed the agreement by the Dec. 17 deadline.

Gering initially had a problem with how the county arrived at its funding formula, but the city eventually accepted those numbers.

Two of the major issues Gering and Minatare have with the countyís agreement are who is responsible for maintenance of the emergency backup system. Also, the two cities object to the open-ended agreement and think a three-year term is sufficient and could be renegotiated at that time.

To that effect, Gering drew up its own agreement, which was also approved by Minatare.

However, the county board said it wouldnít honor any agreement but its own and would refuse payment from those municipalities.

The request for injunction was to have been considered by District Judge Randall Lippstreu, but the county withdrew its deadline for termination of emergency communications services in its original interlocal agreement with Gering and Minatare.

In a letter to Gering City Attorney Jim Ellison, County Attorney Doug Warner said the county had withdrawn the agreementís deadlines and will continue 911 services to Gering and Minatare.

Because of the withdrawal, the scheduled hearing before Judge Lippstreu was cancelled.

Ellison said the motion for temporary injunction was dismissed without prejudice, meaning the city can re-file in the future, if it becomes necessary.

In the complaint, Gering also claimed the county didnít give the required 180-day notice of termination in a letter dated June 30 to the countyís 10 municipalities.

ďIím hoping we can all sit down and work through this and come up with an agreement thatís acceptable to everyone,Ē Ellison said.
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