Local Emergency Management Commission delays 911 agreement decision

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS Members of the Local Emergency Management Commission gathered at the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office Administration Building Thursday. The meeting’s main discussion centered on a proposed 28E agreement to form a Marshall County Communications Commission, which would oversee a levy for 911 employee salaries and benefits. The item was tabled, and a special meeting was set for Dec. 27 for a possible decision.

Following a similar motion earlier this week by the Marshall County Board of Supervisors, the Local Emergency Management Commission (LEM) voted Thursday to table a proposed agreement concerning the county-wide 911 system.

“I, personally, am not ready to sign off on it,” said Le Grand Mayor Jay Wyatt after a motion to adopt the proposed 28E agreement died without a second from the LEM members. “I haven’t had enough time to look this over.”

City officials from Marshalltown, Liscomb, Albion, Ferguson and Melbourne were also in attendance, and Marshall County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Patten led the proceedings. Marshall County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) coordinator Kim Elder also participated.

Several of the city officials felt the need to hold more discussion on the proposed agreement, which would see the creation of a Marshall County Communications Commission. That commission would oversee a levy for 911 employee salaries and benefits, which Elder said is currently estimated at $992,412.

“Quite honestly, I don’t like the entire idea of this,” said Liscomb Mayor Hank Penner; however, he added that he sees benefit in having such funding move through an Emergency Management agency. “The fact that you and I can look at our property tax statement and say ‘That amount of money went to 911,’ that’s not a bad thing.”

Patten explained to the group why the board of supervisors chose to table the issue at their meeting earlier this week.

“The county was pressured by a number of people to have the (Marshalltown) City Council … to have them intend to do something with their budgeting process, which really has nothing to do with this 28E agreement,” he said. “It has to do with budgeting and dollars that are left there once the money has moved on to EMA, and has nothing to do, actually, with this document.”

Patten also described which parts of the county would be involved in the agreement, if it were adopted by the county, Marshalltown, EMA and the Marshall County 911 Joint Services Board.

“If we get this accomplished the way we had started out and intended to, then we put rural, which includes 12 towns, and the city, and we put all that together,” he said.

Currently, the funding for 911 employee salaries and benefits split between the City of Marshalltown and the county at 62 percent and 38 percent, respectively. The Marshall County Communications Commission would take full responsibility for levying those monies if the agreement goes through.

A call for a vote to adopt the agreement was met with a motion by Marshalltown Mayor Jim Lowrance, but was not followed up by a second; the motion died as a result.

After deliberation, a second motion was made to table the item until a special meeting in December. That motion passed 7-1, with Lowrance as the sole “no” vote.

The LEM special meeting is set for 6 p.m. Dec. 27 on the third floor of the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office Administration Building, 2369 Jessup Ave.

Additionally, a Marshall County 911 Joint Services Board meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Marshalltown Police Department, 22 N. Center St.


Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or