Cave City Controversy Continues

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Monday, Feb. 19, 2007, WBKO told you about the Cave City Council's desire to take away city-furnished cell phones.

The city council found out that a dating service was being called from city-funded cell phones, which in their opinion is an abuse of the phones.

Council members Todd Esters and Hack Borden showed us their records of sky-high phone bills from 2003 to 2006, and City Clerk and Treasurer Pam Hunt showed us the actual checks paid to the cell phone company.

Pam Hunt said the records the council members showed WBKO were at one point very high because there was a discrepancy between the service provider and the users. Once that issue has been taken care, according to Hunt, thousands of tax-payer dollars have not been spent on the cell phone service.

"They showed you a statement that showed it to be a balance which is true; it was the balance as they knew it at that time because we hadn't gotten the credit adjustments," Pam Hunt said.

Pam Hunt also wanted to make sure everyone got to see the actual checks made out to the cell phone service provider.

The controversy doesn't stop with the cell phones and bills, because the two-way tower responsible for all police and fire communications is at risk of breaking. If the tower were to break the city-funded cell phones would serve as the back-up plan for emergency response and communication.

That means if the cell phones city workers have were taken away there would be no back-up system in case of an emergency. Cave City Police Chief Bill Minton is worried what might happen if the tower goes down.

"If this tower goes down or fails in any way we have no communications," Minton said.

"(if) the water freezes inside and bursts out the sides of these legs, basically it loses its strength," said Bill Kidd who knows the tower better than anyone. Kidd owns the two-way radio company.

"What this is (the tower) is a repeater system that transports from portable radios to dispatch in Glasgow," Kidd added. "If they need immediate communications and it's down, it could cost someone a life."

Kidd also said the tower won't stand much longer.

"If that happened not only would you lose communication, but it would hit these wires - hitting towers - taking them down as well," Kidd said.

A statement from Esters said, "The council members have not been notified of needed tower repairs, yet (we) welcome the opportunity to be involved in such discussions."

Esters also added in the same statement he believes "citizens of Cave City do not want to pay for personal phone calls." But Mayor Bob Hunt said he believes the citizens of Cave City would want communication to be a top priority regardless of whether the cell phones are used for professional and personal phone calls.

"Something’s going to happen. If this tower falls the fire department, police department and maintenance are going to be in trouble on communication," Bob Hunt said.

Right now nine of the 11 city workers that use city funded cell phones have turned them in at the city council's request. Minton hasn't and said his captain hasn't either.

"By them not turning in their phones they're not willing to listen to what we're telling them," Esters said demanding respect.

To view Esters entire statement to WBKO click here.

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