The city of Roanoke Rapids will have to continue its financial support of the Halifax County 911 Center after a superior court judge Wednesday ruled in the county’s favor on a complaint the city filed challenging the county’s practice of charging for 911 service.
The Halifax County Clerk of Court office confirmed that superior court Judge Jeffery Foster ruled in the county’s favor on the matter and Halifax County Attorney Glynn Rollins and City Attorney Geoffrey Davis also confirmed the ruling.
“The city will have to continue to financially support the 911 Center,” Rollins said this morning.
Davis this morning said he and Rollins are working on a written order which he said reduces Foster’s oral decision into writing. “Once that’s filed, then the city would have the opportunity to appeal.”
Davis also said, “Obviously, this result is not what we wanted, and we will be reviewing our appeal options moving forward.”
In the complaint filed in May of last year the city argued that the county by law is required to provide dispatching services to the city and its public safety agencies at no charge.
The city also contended that the county was not entitled to a defense of sovereign immunity because by forcing the city to pay for municipal dispatching services it was acting contrary to statutory authority and unlawfully seeking to tax the city with costs the county is required to bear.
In its response filed in June of last year the county contended that the city’s financial obligation is a necessary part of its cost of providing municipal law enforcement and fire protection services.
The county argued that if the city were to avoid its financial obligation that part of its cost of providing these services would potentially be laid at the feet of all county taxpayers.
“While it is true that the defendant is required to provide call-taking for the plaintiff’s police and fire departments, it is equally true that the plaintiff is required to include the proportional cost of its participation in a 911 system in its municipal police and fire department budgets,” the county said in its response at the time. “The defendant has no statutory or constitutional authority to absorb that portion of the plaintiff’s cost of providing municipal police and fire protection services.”