COLUMBIA — “You need to get a really sharp pencil,” Boone County Presiding Commissioner Ken Pearson said in regard to the Joint Communications budget that Interim Director Zim Schwartze presented Monday morning.
Pearson was joined at the meeting by fellow Boone County Commission members Karen Miller and Skip Elkin, who listened for about an hour as Schwartze walked through a presentation similar to the one that was delivered before the June 15 City Council meeting.
Schwartze came prepared with a request for $1.3 million in funding and explained to the commission exactly what Joint Communications needs now, in 18 months and in 36 months.
The immediate need is for staffing, especially four more operators, Schwartze said. She also included requests for a system support analyst, new equipment and possibly a new space in the near future.
To justify the requests, Schwartze noted the significant workload handled by the agency.
“We’ve become a catch-all,” Schwartze said, explaining how 911 operators not only handle emergency phone calls but also nonpublic safety calls that could be handled by other agencies.
The commissioners agreed to meet with Joint Communications at least once a month to make sure everyone stays on the same page.
In the meantime, Schwartze says she will continue searching for solutions and trying to keep Joint Communications running efficiently.