Mary E. Hinds News Herald
The Loudon County
Budget Committee is set to recommend to the full commission the
Loudon County E-911 Center, which handles all emergency calls
within the county, become a separate entity.
proposal, E-911 would become an independent agency, but one that
receives a large contribution from the county.
director of the Loudon County E-911 Center, along with E-911
Center board members Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider and Loudon
Police Chief James "Bear" Webb came to the budget committee
meeting to deliver a proposed budget for the agency if it
becomes independent and to answer questions from the committee.
The original funding request for the center was $600,000 but
Estes told the committee after careful consideration the request
was being pared down to $560,000.
The proposed budget given to the committee cites a slight
decrease in anticipated costs for retirement benefits for E-911
employees from $22,600 to $22,000 and an extra $3,000 for
payroll services for processing pay checks. The budget also
lists no change in the cost of office supplies and fuel for
vehicles but warns those prices might go up since the newly
independent agency would not have access to county purchasing
This proposed change was brought about by the need to secure a
retirement plan for employees of the E-911 system. Employees in
most counties in Tennessee, including Loudon County, are
members of the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement System (TCRS).
TCRS is a pension plan that covers county and state employees,
public school teachers and others who elect to join.
Last year when Pat Phillips, president of the Loudon County
Economic Development Agency (EDA) opted to cash out his pension
plan and join TCRS, he discovered the EDA office along with the
county planning office and E-911are not considered as county
employees by the state and as such they are not eligible for the
TCRS retirement program. These agencies are considered
independent agencies that receive contributions from the county
but are not departments of county government.
Loudon County Mayor Doyle Arp told the E-911 representatives it
was important they "start talking to the cities (Loudon and
Lenoir City)" to look for contributions to the agency since both
use its services.
Committee member and Commissioner Don Miller suggested they
"start right now" because it would be "a little bit of an uphill
battle" to get contributions from the cities. He explained
representatives of the cities may argue they already pay county
taxes but it should be pointed out the cities account for
approximately half of the calls to E-911.
After a discussion about the possibility of putting county
commissioners on the E-911 Board of Directors, Miller moved the
committee recommend to the full county commission the Loudon
County E-911 Center become a separate entity providing the
center and the county can come up with a written agreement by
Jan. 1, 2010.
The committee voted in favor of the idea and it will be
presented to the county commission when the rest of the budget
is voted on.