Commission kickoff

First Marshall County Communications Commission meeting held; budget, personnel discussed

About two dozen local officials circled a Marshall County Sheriff’s Office meeting room Thursday evening as a formative commission met, elected officers and discussed a new levy.

The Marshall County Communications Commission was created in a 28E agreement among the City of Marshalltown, the county, the county Emergency Management Agency (EMA) and the 911 Joint Services Board. The estimated amount to be levied is $992,412 for 911 Call Center employee salaries and benefits.

“Basically, once it goes into the EMA budget from being collected by the county, I’ll just bring it right back to the commission,” said EMA coordinator Kim Elder of the levy.

At Thursday’s meeting, Marshalltown Mayor Joel Greer was chosen as the commission chairman, while Marshall County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Patten was selected as the commission vice chair. Teresa Lang, 911 Communications Center director, was chosen as the commission’s secretary.

“We’ve started working internally to figure out … the list of items that needs to come before the commission,” said Marshalltown City Administrator Jessica Kinser. “There are a number of non-financial, non-budgetary things that the commission will need to do fairly soon.”

Some of the immediate goals she listed were adopting personnel policies and standard procedures, as well as naming a communications manager. Kinser said transferring 911 staff employment information from the city to the commission is also a priority; the staff were previously listed as city employees.

“We will be issuing letters of resignation to the employees, which have the balances and rate of pay and everything,” she said. “Then, there would be new letters issued from the commission basically with that same information, saying this is what you’re starting with.”

The technical communication board (TOB) is scheduled to discuss 911 employee job descriptions and the possibility of recommending a communications manager for commission selection. The meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 29 on the third floor of the sheriff’s office, 2369 Jessup Ave.

“Those are people like law enforcement, fire, EMS … that can give insight into what needs to be done for the communications center,” Elder said of the TOB.

The board is made up of the police chiefs of Marshalltown, State Center and Melbourne; the Marshalltown Fire Chief, Marshall County Chief Deputy and representatives from the Marshall County Fire Association and the EMS Association round out the TOB.

Patten said good communication among the entities will be key for a smooth transition of staff from the city to the commission.

Also discussed Thursday was the collection of the levy. The new agreement officially begins on July 1, and Patten said at the 911 Board meeting earlier this week that levy money will not come in until about October.

“Jessica [Kinser] and I talked about this, and we’ve come up with a plan that the city is going to continue paying the total bill from July 1 until probably October,” he said. “Once the taxes then are collected, there will be enough money there, from July 1 on, it will pay them back and we’ll just roll on.”

Previously, Marshalltown and the county had split the cost of 911 employee salaries and benefits at 62 percent to 38 percent, respectively. The agreement for the new commission and levy took several months to complete.

The next Marshall County Communications Commission meeting is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6 on the third floor of the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, 2369 Jessup Ave. That meeting will be preceded by a Local Emergency Management meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the same location.

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com