Sikeston, Scott County can't reach agreement on 911 merger

Sunday, April 15, 2012

BENTON, Mo. -- Scott County and the Sikeston, Mo., E-911 services will remain as they are now: separate.

Scott County commissioners took another look at the figures during their Thursday meeting and agreed the price tag for merging the county's services with the city of Sikeston's is too high.

First District Commissioner Dennis Ziegenhorn said he is disappointed an agreement on merging the system, which would have provided emergency dispatching for Sikeston and most of Scott County, could not be reached.

"However, a lot of good came out of meetings with Sikeston," he said.

Ziegenhorn commended Sikeston Department of Public Safety director Drew Juden and Scott County Sheriff Rick Walter for their efforts to put the cost figures together on the proposed merger. He said the issue of merging the systems may be addressed again.

"There are lots of expenses that go into running 911," Ziegenhorn said. "Regionalizing makes sense."

A tax on telephone land lines funds 911 services. As more people get rid of their land lines and use cellphones, which are not subject to the 911 tax, the revenue to operate 911 services is dropping.

While not a "tax person," Ziegenhorn said the Missouri Legislature needs to look at establishing a cellphone tax to fund 911.

Describing what the tax would cost a cellphone user as similar to the amount of money paid for a smartphone app, he added: "I would pay a tax to know I had the assurance of an excellent 911 system."

Pertinent address:

Sikeston, MO

Benton, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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