MARYVILLE, Mo. — After months of negotiations, city and county officials shook hands on a consolidated 911 agreement, crossing a goal line that had proved impassable for decades.
The agreement was approved pending feedback from the county's attorney, and still needs to be approved by the Maryville City Council. The council is expected to approve it in a special session Friday at 4 p.m.
“We’re very happy it’s taken place, and we’re happy with the agreement,” said Nodaway County Presiding Commissioner Bill Walker. “We’re looking forward to … the new center. … It’ll be great for the citizens, that’s the main thing.”
The county commissioners had rejected a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday that had been approved by the City Council That agreement had called for a $1 cellphone tax to be placed on the ballot this coming April. Commissioners had consistently balked at the idea, saying that the $1 fee — which would fall about $250,000 short of funding the new consolidated 911 center according to a study commissioned by both parties — was a nonstarter, and they would not back a plan that required such a tax to be passed. Instead, the commissioners preferred a sales tax, saying that a quarter-cent sales tax would fund the center’s operations.
At the meeting Thursday, a rewritten deal proved to be an amenable compromise for both parties. The new deal runs for an initial four years, with options for three four-year extensions afterward.
“Our common objective was to do the best thing for all the citizens of Nodaway County,” said North District Commissioner Chris Burns.
The city and county would use the first two years of operation to gather data on how much funding would be required, and determine whether a cellphone tax would be appropriate to fund it, or whether a sales tax would be a better choice. After those first two years, the two parties would be required to decide what funding mechanism would be used going forward.
During those two years, the 911 center will be funded the same way it is currently: by general revenue from both governments supplemented by a landline telephone tax. Additionally, the county agreed to a 50/50 split of the costs between the two entities. In the previous proposal, the city was on the hook for the first $175,000 of shortfall, then would pick up 51 percent of the costs after that. The county had also negotiated a $75,000 cap on its total contribution. All of that was removed in favor of the simpler even split in the final memorandum.
“I was involved in the 2008 initiative and there were times before that when we tried to get it done,” said City Council member Tye Parsons. “It took a lot of work, and we still have some work to do. And it’s going to take a two-year period to work out the kinks. But we’re pretty much there; I’m excited.”
Next, the City Council is expected to approve the agreement Friday, and City Manager Greg McDanel said he would move as quickly as possible to complete necessary equipment purchases immediately. The bids for the equipment, some of which will be used as soon as possible to replace dangerously outdated equipment, expire at the end of the year.