Byram fire chief feels short-changed at E-911 funding meeting - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Byram fire chief feels short-changed at E-911 funding meeting

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Byram Fire Chief Marshall Robinson asked the Hinds County E-911 Council for $238,000 for 20 radios and related costs. He has just three firefighters, but he hopes to hire 20 more.

"We can't move forward with radio training without the radios," Robinson said.

His request was denied.

"To spend $200,000 on radios and you don't have the employees in place. That's not being good stewards of taxpayer dollars," said Terry Police Chief Juan Gray.

Purchases were approved for other agencies including Terry, Utica, Clinton, Hinds County, and the Byram Police Department.

The Jackson Police Department requested 100 radios with a $370,000 price tag, along with 26 computers for $63,000. There are currently 439 JPD officers, but 100 more officers are slated to come on board by the spring.

Byram Fire Chief Robinson noted that those recruits aren't in place yet either. But JPD's requests were granted. "It's interesting because you all want radios for people you don't have, and I got grief already for wanting radios for people I don't have," he said during the meeting.

It was argued that Jackson pays more into the E-911 fund because of the larger population. We also learned that the E-911 funds are dwindling. "In fiscal year 2011, we spent approximately $600,000 more than our annual coming in revenue," said Hinds County EOC Director Jimmie Lewis.

The Byram Fire Department got half of its request approved. "I feel there's a double standard in Hinds County 911," Chief Robinson said. "It's been perceived in print and news that Byram is at the bottom of the feeding chain. Today is no different."

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