Boone County Government
and City of Columbia

For Immediate Release:                                                                        
September 18, 2013

Contact:
Dan Atwill
Boone County Presiding Commissioner
(573) 886-4306
datwill@boonecountymo.org

Nicole Galloway
Boone County Treasurer
(573) 303-1471
ngalloway@boonecountymo.org

Mike Matthes
Columbia City Manager
(573) 874-7254
cmo@gocolumbiamo.com

Boone County and City of Columbia announce key transition dates for moving Public Safety Joint Communications to county oversight

Key dates ensure no disruption to service, fiscal integrity and ability to plan the new public safety facility

COLUMBIA – Boone County and the City of Columbia today announced key transition dates for moving Public Safety Joint Communications from the City of Columbia to Boone County Government as part of the implementation of the 911-ballot measure approved by citizens in April 2013. The transition dates were recommended by the 911 Personnel Transition Committee.

The key transition dates are:
Jan. 1, 2014 – Boone County begins fully funding Public Safety Joint Communication operations through reimbursements to the City of Columbia.
Jan. 1, 2015 – Transfer of administrative control to Boone County, including current Public Safety Joint Communication employees becoming Boone County employees.

“The committee recommended these dates because the county and city recognize they ensure no disruption in public safety services during each transition phase,” said Boone County Treasurer Nicole Galloway, who serves as the 911 Personnel Transition Committee chair. “By transitioning fiscal responsibility at the beginning of the year we can continue to expand staff and use the resources from the sales tax as the public intended. Administrative transition in 2015 helps retain our highly-trained 911 employees by providing them time to plan and adapt, as anyone switching to a new employer would need.”

Boone County and the City of Columbia have worked closely to plan the personnel transition since the ballot initiative was approved.

“First and foremost, the county and city each recognize how important 911 service is to the public safety of all residents and visitors,” said City Manager Mike Matthes. “This process has identified solutions that put citizens first – which was the top priority of the city and county. I look forward to seeing 911 services expanded quickly and in a way that works for the long term.”

At the beginning of next year, all user agencies, which include fire districts and municipalities in Boone County, under the previous 1977 governance agreement, will end financial support for 911 services. The final phase of the transition process will be the relocation of operations from the current City of Columbia space to the new 911/Joint Communications and Office of Emergency Management facility on the Boone County Law Enforcement Campus.

“We are continuing to take a deliberate and consistent approach to transition 911 service to the county and thank the city for its commitment to ensuring the process goes smoothly,” said Boone County Presiding Commissioner Dan Atwill. “These dates work not just from the county and city perspective, but they also allow input and participation by Joint Communications’ user agencies. The transition must be flawless between the county, city and user agencies to ensure public safety is maintained.”

The county is in the process of hiring Emergency Telecommunicators, or 911 call-takers, to increase staffing levels. The next step in the transition process will be an intergovernmental agreement between Boone County and the City of Columbia to allow the transition process to continue without interruption.

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