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Lee County Speeds Up Borrowing Plan

Keokuk, IA – The county is being asked to borrow up to $500,000 to build the dispatch center in the Lee County Jail and to purchase new dispatch equipment. The short-term loan is needed because the center was not included in the original plans for the renovation and expansion of the jail.

Supervisor Larry Kruse says the construction of the center should wrap up in March. The actual centralized dispatch system would not go online until later in the year.

Kruse says, instead of leaving the room vacant, the Lee County Sheriff's Office will operate out of the center. He says that means equipment will have to be installed in March.

Kruse says the county should install new equipment in the center, from the state, instead of the sheriff's office's current equipment. He says the county would cut out several temporary moves, which cost $10,000 each.

Kruse says the equipment must be ordered by mid-January to meet the new timeline. That means the bonding process must take place as soon as possible.

The supervisors will hold a special meeting, this week, to set a public hearing on the borrowing plan. That would allow the panel to approve the plan in two weeks.

Meanwhile, it looks like taxpayers will not be on the hook if Lee County borrows the money for the centralized emergency dispatch center.

The Lee County E-911 Board has agreed to make the payments on the money the county borrows for the project. The board will use the revenue Lee County receives from telephone surcharges.

The county receives about $145,000 each year. The payments are expected to be around $70,000.