Minden Press-Herald

Sep 30th

Audit discusses 911 excess

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The Webster Parish Police Jury should make use of more than $800,000 of undesignated funds, at least that's the opinion of an audit released by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor's office.

According to the audit, conducted by Monroe-based firm Allen, Green and Williamson, the Webster communications district receives about 85 percent of its revenue (about $380,000) from service charges levied to telephone users.

In 2014, the district designated a little more than $200,000 to a building and equipment fund leaving $880,000 in the fund.

Webster 911 Director Dal Taylor said there is less in the fund than when auditors pulled the records. 911 recently purchased about $150,000 in new phone equipment for dispatchers.

The fund is also used as a type of savings account in the event of emergency and for future plans to construct a new 911 dispatch and office facility.

In 2007, lightning struck the courthouse, which currently houses 911 dispatch, and damaged the system.

"It cost $240,000 to replace the equipment and we had the money in the equipment fund," Taylor said.

State law mandates that if proceeds generated by an emergency telephone service charge exceed the amount needed to fund the district, the governing authority may suspend the service charge.

Auditors recommend the jury develop a plan to spend the money to benefit citizens and consider adjusting the service charge.

"We would like to build a communications building, but it's a million dollars or more," Taylor said. "We started the fund this year. We hope to grow and add to it as we can, short of borrowing money, which I don't see us doing."

The 911 board will meet the first Thursday in August.






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