Howard County Faces Budget Shortfall Over Dispatch Services

Howard County is seeking ways to fill a gap in its budget after the city stopped funding its emergency management services.

howard county police

Photo: WFIU/WTIU News

The city of Kokomo has ended funding to county emergency response services.

Howard County officials say paying for emergency management services will be more difficult in the coming year after Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight severed an agreement which saw the city pay to help run the operation. The county is now facing a budgetary shortfall as a result of the city’s decision.

Earlier this year, the Kokomo City Council voted unanimously to end funding for the Emergency Management Agency, which provides dispatch services for all of Howard County. Beginning January first, Kokomo shifted all fiscal responsibility to the county.

Howard County Council President Richard Miller says the EMA’s loss of revenue likely means a reduction of Emergency Services, but EMA Interim Director Larry Smith disagrees.

“Our agency is able to help and communicate, and work side-by-side with all the different public safety agencies within our community,” he says. “And to be pro-active and mitigate for storms and flooding and that type of stuff, to help our community itself. That’s what our agency is there to do, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do.”

However, the county council approved a budget with about $40,000 less for EMA than the agency spent in 2012.

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