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Just an outsider’s point of view

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By Ben Hyatt

Saving money is what local politicians should seek out as their job description, but there is a fine line between saving and cutting at the wrong end.
I am sure that citizens have heard rumor of the E-911 situation that has been brought to attention recently.
Being present at the meetings and speaking one on one with local government officials, I have had the opportunity to gain some inside information that has helped me better understand the situation.
First off, the city and county, to my knowledge, have made no attempt to start a deal with the Kentucky State Police in regards to taking over the local dispatch responsibilities.
I do believe our county judge when he told me the money is there for this year and no job will be affected anytime soon.
However, I am a realist in  that I am sure county and city politicians have toyed with the idea in an effort to save money.
Let me go on record as to say that I am all for saving money.
This week I wrote an article which quoted Gary Brunker saying that the city is over budget about $500,000.
He is right in saying that $500,000 is a substantial amount of money and, I agree with commissioner Billy Grayson that something must be done to keep from pulling from funds that are listed as reserves.
However, just as I am for saving money and not spending money that the county or city may not have, I am also for doing what is right.
I realize it is trying times right now with budgets and with money in general, however, I cannot for the life of me see how the county or city could put eight full-time and five part-time employees out of work.
Now, I refer back to what I said earlier when I said if you don’t have the money then you can’t spend it. I still hold true to that, but I know a way to come up with the money and I will reveal that solution shortly.
Before I introduce my “master plan,” let’s look at a few reasons why getting rid of the local 911 would be a bad idea.
It is the old saying... nothing is for free.
The KSP representatives said it could cost as little as $200,000 for us to use them as our new 911 dispatcher.
I guarantee you that if you set your garbage in someone else’s yard and they accept it willingly, then there is something they are gaining.
I am sure that with the call load that will be placed on KSP receiving Harrison County’s calls, they are figuring on making more than $200,000 a year from it.
Has anyone heard of response time?
If I was on a football team as a quarterback and I had to choose to throw to the other team or my team, any smart person would pick to throw to the team you are playing for, or paying up.
Same goes for the KSP dispatchers. If more calls come in, they will more than likely go to KSP officers. Why? The more calls that officers from the state take, the easier to justify a need for more troopers to cover all the new dispatched calls in Harrison County.
My guess is that if KSP is given the dispatch responsibility, there will be more state troopers dispatched to Harrison County. Judging by their absence here now, who knows how long it will take them to get here.
For the record, I have nothing against KSP, I understand that they have a job to do. I am sure the KSP officers don’t want or need any additional work than what they currently carry.
I understand that neither the city nor the county has made any decisions and I don’t envy them when the time does come to make one. I believe this will be one of those decisions where half will be happy and half will be upset, regardless of the outcome.
As for my idea, and that is all that it is. I wonder if the county and city has ever thought or explored the idea of a merged government.
When I first heard the idea from my editor, I thought to myself, that will never fly.
However, once I started thinking about the idea more and more, it started sounding like something that would genuinely work.
Think about it, one book-keeper, one person in charge of writing checks, one group in charge of the budget and one head honcho.
What you have then is one person that can be held accountable for the actions that take place. If they don’t suit the public, then simply don’t put a check by their name next election time.
No longer would anyone have to worry about, who takes care of what.
With only one government a lot of money would be saved just from the fewer conferences and events that our local leaders go to.
Think about every time a key gets turned in a county or city vehicle. That would be cut in half. Think about every time a leaders’ seminar takes place and commissioners and magistrates are required to attend them, that gets cut in half.
When there are too many chiefs and not enough Indians, nothing ever gets accomplished.
I think that our local government is cutting from the wrong end. That is what is wrong with our nation as a whole, the top guys want to cut from the bottom and keep everything flowing the same at the top. Top heavy.
Let’s have one strong, central government that is held responsible and does its job well and not have two that rely on each other to keep the other afloat.
I am not saying there are not good leaders on both sides right now, but what I am saying is splitting power is fine to do on a national level, but when a county has less than 20,000 people, then it becomes over-kill.
If Lexington can get by on one form of government, then I am confident that a city and county a fraction of its size can do it just fine.
Again though, this is just an outsider’s point of view.