The Pryor Times

February 20, 2014

Commissioner talks 911; mayor changes his tune

Staff Writer
Cydney Baron

PRYOR, OK — Pryor's City Council meeting Tuesday included a presentation from County Commissioner Darrell Yoder.

“I invited Mr. Yoder here to  explain the stand-alone 911 Center. I don't feel like a lot of comments are necessary. We'll hear what he has to say and make up our own minds,” said Mayor Jimmy Tramel, adding that the city is involved through the police dispatch.

“Thank you for having me. There has been a lot of discussion on this. Before I get started I'd like to ask the mayor what changed his mind,” said Yoder, explaining that in the course of one week the mayor went from supportive of the change to opposing it.

Yoder was referring to the Mayes Emergency Services Trust Authority board meeting in which Tramel stated he was considering pulling funding generated by cell-phone tax because he did not believe the stand-alone center would be successful.

'My job is to do what's best for the city. I was given an audit report before the MESTA meeting saying it would cost $390,000 to run the center per year. Then after the meeting I was given another audit report saying it would be much less. My mind isn't made up but if we took in $280,000 and it took $390,000 to run it, we wouldn't make it,” said Tramel.

Yoder thanked the mayor for his honesty then began his presentation of the 911 Center's finances.

Yoder said the total expense for a 911 Coordinator is $61,499.94 including salary and benefits.  He listed the total employee expense as $206,485.80, including dispatchers, the coordinator and employees. Yoder said other operational expenses total $75,632.06.

“So to break it down, the total employee expenses is $206,485.80, operational expenses are, $75,632.06 and total 911 expenses are $282,117.86,” said Yoder, “Now let's move on to income.”

Hard-line income is $115,534.32 and wireless income is $180,112.63 for a total of $295,646.95.

“The total remaining capital outlay after all expenses have been paid per year is $13,529.06,” said Yoder, adding that this is a conservative figure.

“I am fully convinced this will work,” said Yoder.

Yoder said this amount could be increased if, in the future, fire departments pay a small amount for dispatching.

Council member Travis Noland asked Yoder what the overall vision is for the project.

“My vision is to get all dispatching under one roof, as is the nationwide trend,” said Yoder. “I talked to the emergency coordinator down in Joplin. I asked her if there was one thing she wished she could have changed before their big tornado and she said it would be to get all dispatching under one roof.”

Yoder said this improves response timing and overall efficiency. Calls would not have to be transferred to another entity and all responders would be privy to the same information, he said.

“If we had something wipe out our towers and couldn't contact the sheriff's office across town, we would have a mess. There would be people injured and no way of getting help to them. It would be a nightmare,” said Yoder.

He added there will be one MESTA dispatcher and one county dispatcher, which means two dispatchers 24/7 instead of one.

“My care is for the citizens of Mayes County. If we all do the best we can to serve them, everything will come together,” said Yoder.

The county 911 center has already been separated from the direction of MESTA and has undergone several of the necessary steps to making it a stand-alone entity. Dispatchers have been hired and are going through training this week. Land lease agreements and equipment ownership have all been reviewed by the county commissioners. Now individual entities, like the city of Pryor, will have to choose whether to dispatch out of the center or not.