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      Lewis County 911 center's future up in the air

      Lewis County E-911 Center in Monticello, MO

      The future of a local 911 dispatch center in northeast Missouri is up in the air.

      The Lewis County 911 Board of Directors is currently accepting bids for an outside agency to provide service to the county.

      The board chairman Randy Eaton said its spending more money that it has.

      "In two thousand and ten, we put it to a tax increase on the ballot. The voters turned it down. The board came back together, and we cut more things out from more services. Cut everything down to just absolute bare bones. But right now we're living month to month," Eaton said.

      During a public meeting in June, vocal county residents expressed their concerns about the center's options. Officials made no decision on how to increase revenue.

      "Most of them want everything to stay in the county. But there's really no immediate way to just say "Here's the money, keep running." There has to be something figured out differently," Eaton said.

      Some members feel out-sourcing the service is a viable option. Other members of the community do not.

      The Lewis County Sheriff wants to take over the center's operations, but believes this idea fell on deaf ears.

      "We have offered to provide assistance. We have offered to work with them to provide dispatching through the sheriff's office. We think we can do that in a fiscally responsible way where the tax payer feels like they're getting their bang for their buck, and the money stays here. We believe that has also fallen on deaf ears," David Parrish, Lewis County Sheriff said. "This Lewis County problem can be resolved by Lewis County people. I believe in that one hundred percent. So that is what I believe should happen. We don't want to spend one dime on a law firm to stop this. We want everyone to come to the table and we want to resolve this before they make this terrible mistake in out sourcing it," Parrish said.

      911 centers across the Tri-States have been dealing with similar problems.

      After the Ralls County 911 board laid off all of its employees, Marion County 911 director Mike Hall took it over.

      We asked Hall whether he received a bid packet from the Lewis County 911. He said he did, but he hasn't had a chance to review the proposal.

      "Depending on what they are looking for, I believe that we will most likely submit a response," he said in an email.

      Bids will continue to be accepted through August 13th at noon. They will then open the bids that evening at 6.

      The public can attend the bid opening meeting which will be held at the 911 center in Monticello.