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Final Taylor-Harrison 911 merger hearing set

by Nora Edinger

REGIONAL EDITOR

GRAFTON -- A final public hearing on the Taylor-Harrison 911 merger will focus on what officials from both sides call minor details.

"This ordinance was passed," said Bob Weaver, Taylor County commissioner. "It has been finalized except for three changes."

The changes are discrepancies between the merger ordinance Taylor commissioners approved last fall and an ordinance Harrison commissioners approved this spring. Taylor commissioners will conduct a public hearing on the proposed changes 10 a.m. Aug. 15 at the Taylor County Courthouse Annex.

Two more prominent changes involve a reduction in start-up costs and responsibility for certain legal fees.

Fred Smart, director of Harrison's Office of Emergency Services, said one-time start-up costs have been reduced from a projected $126,000 to $39,000.

That change was made possible by Harrison's solo purchase of a console it could use regardless of the merger, he said. The remaining start-up cost is almost entirely from a radio link that will allow Harrison to operate Taylor's radio system.

Smart anticipates implementation to begin sometime between January and March. The partnership would lock in Taylor residents' current $1.50 per month rate for the next five years. In addition to paying Taylor's share of operating expenses during that time, he said the fee should retire the start-up costs in about two years.

In the legal-fees change, Taylor commissioners would agree that their county would be responsible for court costs if legal action is filed to block the merger.

Acknowledging bitter disputes that preceded Taylor's side of the ordinance approval, Weaver said it is still possible an opponent of the merger could attempt an injunction to stop it.

A third change is planning related, Weaver said. It involves extending the notice period for any future cancellation of the partnership from 60 days to 180 days.

Regional editor Nora Edinger can be reached at 626-1447 or by e-mail at nedinger@exponent-telegram.com

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