County to Take Over 911 Center Jan. 1

Ohio County will take over operations at the Wheeling-Ohio County 911 Communications Center on Jan. 1.

Ohio County commissioners Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution transferring control of the center from the city of Wheeling. Wheeling officials had approved an ordinance Nov. 19 authorizing City Manager Robert Herron to negotiate a deal for the transfer.

Under the agreement achieved, all 13 of the 911 center’s employees will become county employees with county benefits, said Commissioner Tim McCormick.

The facility was the only city-run 911 operations center in the state, according to County Administrator Greg Stewart, and the move is expected to save the city $180,000 annually.

“After several meetings (with Wheeling officials), we worked out a deal in which the equipment in the center owned by the city will be transferred to (the county) in title free of charge,” Stewart told commissioners. “We are ready to take over operations at the center Jan. 1.”

He said he has met with some of the employees, “and everybody is ready to make the move.”

In other matters, Stewart told commissioners the county has received a $100,000 Courthouse Facilities Improvement Grant that will be used to upgrade the fire alarm system in the City-County Building.

“This building has never (had sprinklers),” he said. “Under current law, that would be required.”

The county will install sprinklers and replace smoke detectors beginning on the fifth floor of building, then move down to the fourth and third floors, he said. If money is remaining, work could be expanded to the second floor.

The project is expected to cost $193,195, and the additional $93,195 needed for its completion will be taken from the county’s capital improvement fund, according to Stewart. Work is to begin in 2014.