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Snow in March?
On March 21-22, 1968 a snowstorm blew into North Mississippi with accumulations up to umpteen inches according to those who survived to exaggerate the story. Question is: Do you think we will experience snowfall with accumulation this March?

Boards attempt to spread central dispatch expense

By Rupert Howell
Representatives of seven Panola municipalities and county supervisors met last Thursday with Panola County’s E-911 board in a roundtable format trying to secure a funding method so that each entity pays its share of costs for centralized dispatching.

Recently the towns of Como, Crenshaw and Sardis have disbanded their dispatch services choosing to use the centralized dispatching from the E-911. Doing so relieved them the expense of having to hire round-the-clock dispatchers for each separate entity, but increased expenses at the centralized unit.

The smaller towns of Courtland, Pope already used centralized 911 as they didn’t have stand alone dispatch services and use the Panola County Sheriff’s Department for most their law enforcement. Crowder has similar circumstances.

The City of Batesville is the only municipality to continue to use a stand alone dispatch and does not figure into the funding equation.

Earlier in the central dispatch discussion the towns of Como and Crenshaw agreed to pay $200 monthly. The Town of Sardis agreed to pay a much larger amount,$3,750 per month, when that municipality closed their stand-alone dispatch.

That amount is unfair when compared to others according to Sardis Mayor Billy Russell who spends a lot of time stretching his town’s dollars and gathering donations for projects and needs not funded by the budget.

Russell suggested that municipalities pay per population. Prior to his suggestion Emergency Management Coordinator Daniel Cole said the E-911 board had researched the average amount of E-911 calls over a two month period with some of his board recommending municipalities pay a pro-rata share.

A suggestion that came from last Thursday’s meeting at the county’s emergency management office in Sardis according to Cole was that entities pay in relation to the assessed valuation of their communities’ property.

Cole said those figures had been compiled and at least some of the group would meet again to further discuss options

Cole is in Jackson today helping lobby for state funding for maintenance for the  state-wide communication system. Cole had earlier warned that local entities may be squeezed to pay additional maintenance fees if the legislature does not provide adequate funding.

He will be among a group that will seek providing in-kind services such as maintenance around tower sites in lieu of additional maintenance fees.

The county’s recent $600,000 purchase of radios, new consoles systems for dispatch, and consolidation of dispatch feather into the state’s wireless communication system that allows first responders to communicate from agency to agency in times of emergency or disaster across the state.

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