County reaches tentative contract with Ameren

Agreement provides emergency services

The Callaway County Commission Tuesday reached a verbal agreement on Ameren Missouri’s share of operating costs of the Callaway County Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

Last week, Presiding Commissioner Gary Jungermann said the county this year has agreed to reduce the cost of most contracts for all cities and fire districts, along with Ameren Missouri, using 24-hour emergency radio dispatching services and other services provided by the center.

Jungermann said the fund collecting 911 taxes on land-based telephone lines in the county has accumulated enough money to handle any expected major equipment purchases for the county’s Emergency Operations Center.

The county recently purchased expensive radio dispatching consoles and has upgraded the EOC’s radio and other communications equipment.

Because the county commission now foresees less need for emergency equipment reserves, it has decided to lower costs this year to most entities receiving emergency radio dispatching services provided by the county’s EOC.

Ameren Missouri carries a major share of the cost of operating the center because of extensive emergency services required for operating a nuclear plant at the Callaway Energy Center at Reform.

Two representatives of Ameren Missouri discussed the proposed EOC contract with the county on Tuesday. They were Patrick McKenna, Ameren’s emergency preparedness manager, and John Bassford, emergency response coordinator.

Jungermann said the two-year contract is not yet officially signed by Ameren Missouri officials but a verbal agreement was reached Tuesday during negotiations. The new contract will be slightly less than the current $264,600 contract.

Jungermann said the county’s 911 tax collection fund has been decreasing about $30,000 a year for several years because many people are canceling land-based telephone lines and are now using only cell phones.

Western District Commissioner Doc Kritzer said Missouri is the only state in the nation that does not have a tax on cell phone use for 911 services.

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