Friday, October 30, 2009

Making The Rounds: Barnes Talks About Saving Beech Grove's 911 Dispatch Center


At last night's Perry Township Democratic Club meeting, a light turnout of candidates but a crowd of 30 turned out. Apparently, many candidates had other engagements as there were a couple of high-profile fundraisers last night for Marion County Prosecutor candidate Terry Curry and Marion County Assessor candidate Joe O'Connor.

State Rep. John Barnes spoke briefly about a topic of interest to the City of Beech Grove. To allow Beech Grove to keep its 911 Dispatch Center, Barnes says he plans to write legislation to exclude Marion County from a 2008 General Assembly law reducing the number of 911 Dispatch Centers per county to two by 2014. Beech Grove Mayor Joe Wright has proposed saving money by closing the Beech Grove Dispatch Center and pushing its functions off on the Town of Speedway. According to Barnes, his legislation would prevent Wright from utilizing the state law to close the 911 Dispatch Center arguing that the Beech Grove Republican has mismanaged the city's resources for "many years."

Several news agencies reported on the contentious city council meeting Wednesday night where Beech Grove's Council passed a budget on a 4-3 party line vote. Channel 6 called the budget unfunded citing a $1.7 million shortfall. Channel 13 also reported on the issue. Channel 8's report is here.

While considering cutting the Beech Grove 911 Dispatch Center, the city's own website trumpets Main Street revitalization. The ambitious proposal is here. Sounds beautiful...unless you get mugged there and dial 911. Revitalization projects are nice, but it seems to me the mayor should want to save his city's 911 center first.

Here is Barnes' full news conference on his legislative proposal.


Other than Rep. Barnes also making the rounds at the meeting were the following officeholders and candidates.

Center Township Advisory Board Member Larry Ryan
Marion County Assessor Greg Bowes, candidate for Marion County Prosecutor
Businessman Brian Williams, candidate for Mayor
Colonel John Layton, candidate for Marion County Sheriff
College Student Chris Jackson, candidate for City-County Council in District 22
Represented by Surrogates:
Attorney Terry Curry, candidate for Marion County Prosecutor
Chief Deputy Assessor Joe O'Connor, candidate for Marion County Assessor
Former Deputy Mayor Melina Kennedy, candidate for Mayor
Small Business Owner Zach Adamson, candidate for City-County Council At-Large

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