Trustees in Ashkum and Clifton approved new contracts with the Iroquois County 9-1-1 Board this week. The respective village boards signed their contracts with the Emergency Telephone System Board (ETSB) for emergency communication dispatch service.
The Ashkum Board's agreement is for an annual fee of $1,200 dollars. The Clifton contract is for $1,800 dollars.
The village fees and police department fees are based on an annual review of the amount of communication services provided a year earlier by the 9-1-1 board.
The two communities and others and fire and police departments had received two different bills. That was because the Iroquois County Board also mailed out its own contract proposal, when the County Board was looking to take control and management of the emergency 9-1-1 system.
The county board's medaling in the emergency dispatch operations didn't go over well with the veteran members of the 9-1-1 Board. Several emergency responders voiced strong-concern of county board political control of emergency situations that first-responders say, they have more expertise about.
The Clifton-Advocate reports this week (Thursday) Ashkum Fire Chief Jeff Glenn told his village trustees former County Board Chairman Rod Copas directed the county board in cutting the size of the ETSB Board from 12 to six members, replacing veteran ETSB board members including himself, with loyal county board members who supported Copas' agenda.
Glenn said "I served on the 9-1-1 board since 1999 and politics has never been involved...until now." Glenn said the secret Copas plan to take over dispatching service seemed to go away when Copas resigned as County Board Chairman in mid-November.
Ashkum village trustee Ed Tholen said "it sounded like a power grab that didn't work."
Ashkum and Clifton area county board members Lyle Behrends, Kevin Hansen and Dan Rayman were all supporters of Copas.
Other village and city governments and fire and police agencies are in the process of approving their own dispatch contracts with the ETSB-911 Board.