City cops get communications cash

By Tom Joyce -

Budget amendments usually mean money going out of city coffers, but it’s a case of cash coming in with the most recent one approved by Mount Airy officials.

The city police department has been tapped to receive $38,306 as a result of its participation in Surry County’s emergency communications network. The department is among agencies serving as secondary/backup Public Safety Answering Points.

Mount Airy police are being rewarded financially for supplying backup to the county communications unit through a move by the North Carolina 911 Board to earmark limited E-911 (Enhanced 911) funding for such providers.

This is the first time that initiative has been undertaken, according to Police Chief Dale Watson. He said the $38,306 represents the inaugural payment to his department and will take a burden off municipal taxpayers who normally would fund needs it will meet instead.

The funding is the result of an interlocal agreement with the Surry commissioners which was approved in February by the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners regarding the city’s backup 911 role.

The city board also Ok’d a budget amendment last Thursday night which will allow the money to be spent. The police chief said such funding will be received annually and help offset expenditures in the department’s communications division.

Its authorized uses are limited to telephone systems, furniture, software, hardware, training, supporting functions and hosted/shared services, items the department typically would have to add or replace on its own.

The $38,306 allocation is based on user fees associated with the city police communications system.

Watson has said the funding level will vary from year to year, and the program could be phased out at some point.

Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.

By Tom Joyce

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