Saving money could cost citizens their safety

By Christy Millweard - bio | email

MINER, MO (KFVS) - The town of Miner tries to decide whether a move to save money will cost its citizens their safety.

City leaders in Miner have some major decisions to make. In these tough economic times, they could save the city $150,000, but it would cost 4 people their jobs.

Scott County recently told the City of Miner it could dispatch for the city at the cost of $50,000 dollars a year. Right now, Miner pays four dispatchers a total of $200,000 dollars. So it could save the city $150,000 dollars. While it sounds good economically, some wonder if it would affect the safety of the people of Miner.

The city council is split on the topic. Those for the move point to the savings for the cash-strapped city. Those against the move are concerned with the safety of the people living in Miner could be jeopardized.

"I just don't think it's a really good idea," said Miner resident Debbie Vaught.

"I think it's a bad move, I really do," said Miner Police Chief Chris Griggs.

"I'm upset," said Stephanie Turner.

Turner is one of the four dispatchers the city is talking about getting rid of.

"I'm going to take a huge financial loss, with my benefits and my pay, it's going to be a huge loss, and then with me being a single mom, it's going to be even worse," said Turner.

"Do I want to get rid of four people, no they need their job," said Miner council member Peggy Holman.

"That is the worst part to go to the people and say you don't have a job," said Miner Mayor Pro Tem Charles McLemore.

McLemore says the issue doesn't just involve those four people.

"As a dispatcher we know all of our citizens in the city, we know who lives where," said Turner.

"It was always really nice to know the police station was just right down the road here, and if you called you're thinking they're going to come from right here," said Vaught.

"They're here within seconds, county means more people that they have to deal with," said Becky, a Miner resident.

"We're going to have to talk about people and response times, are the response times going to be as good as if they were here in the city of Miner?" said Turner.

"This is not an overnight decision. I think this is something the city council and city government need to sit down and realize what they're contemplating what they're talking about," said Griggs.

And that's just what they plan to do after this morning's special meeting. The council voted to set the issue aside until the council meeting in April.

"It sounds pretty good to us still at this point, but I just want to kind of investigate it further, and make sure we get the same type protection," said McLemore.

"To me it boils down to safety, to them its dollars and cents," said Griggs.

"Cause you're saving $150,000 dollars, it doesn't take a genius to figure out, if you save a $150,000 dollars, you'd be a fool to not go with it," said Holman.

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.