BENTON — Last week during the Marshall County Fiscal Court meeting, a county commissioner took issue with a reported $50,000 line item for five chairs for the new 911 Center; however another commissioner said that was not quite right.

District 1 Commissioner Justin Lamb met with Marshall County Judge-Executive Kevin Neal and 911 Director Chris Freeman on Friday and said the seven chairs in question are approximately $2,500 each. District 2 Commissioner Kevin Spraggs questioned the five chairs’ reported $50,000 cost during the fiscal court meeting, which was reported by WPSD Local 6.

Lamb told The Sun’s sister paper, Tribune-Courier, Friday that figure wasn’t accurate: “In fact, the new 911 center will require seven customized 24/7 chairs, which are the standard for 911 centers.”

Additionally, there are 32 standard office chairs that cost $219 each and added to the seven special dispatchers chairs totals $24,508.

Spraggs also took issue with an icebox that produces 300 pounds of ice a day. He said a facility with so few personnel and limited access as the 911 center has no need for a machine that size.

On Friday, he said the reason he brought the issues forward was because they “hadn’t seen anything as far as a breakdown on costs for fitting the building.”

When Spraggs was initially given the requested estimate by Freeman in October and saw the chairs, he assumed they would be put up for bid. But after seeing the icemaker, which he said was $4,800, he said he felt it needed to be addressed in the county meeting.

Freeman told the Tribune-Courier the $50,000 invoice for the chairs “never materialized” and the numbers he gave Spraggs in October were rough estimates for outfitting the 911 section of the facility.

“I was asked for an impromptu budget, if you will, and what I thought I would spend out here by Mr. Spraggs. I provided that in an email to the judge-executive to give to the other commissioners,” Freeman said.

He also pointed out the approximate $24,508 total for the 39 chairs would not meet the $30,000 threshold to go before the fiscal court to put out for bid. He also stressed that dispatchers are currently sitting in 10-year-old chairs worth the same price as the seven new ones, and that “they’re not in good shape to bring out here, so we need to replace them.”

As for the icebox, Freeman said the way the facility is structured would actually allow ease of access to ice for “any public safety entity,” as well as future training classes, in the county at any time. Dispatchers will be “quarantined” in a separate section that requires different modes of entry.

The fiscal court also heard and took action on a few agenda items last week, including:

  • Neal announced the court had received the encroachment permit regarding I-69 and a sewer project.
  • Approved Lamb’s state mandated incentive of $3,279.72 for completing three training units.
  • Hired two new animal control personnel. Kay Hutchinson was hired as new assistant director at $13.75 per hour, and a part time employee was hired at $10.55 per hour.
  • Approved the first reading of Ordinance 2021, which is a budget amendment. Expenditures have increased by $1,829,022.07.
  • Approved putting out an advertising bid for mowing.
  • Approved an intra-fund transfer of $910,455 with a transient tax of $17,205.51.

Neal said the county has been waiting a long time to receive approval of the encroachment permit.

“We’ve been waiting several years to get this project completed. So this kicks it off, so that’s good news,” he said.

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