Members of the Local Emergency Planning District (LEPD) voted to close the office at the Monett that is currently housed at the Monett Judicial Center and go to a "virtual office," where communications are primarily sent via e-mail or telephone.
The move will save approximately $3,600 annually in rent and another $2,400 in phone costs.
As a result of the change, local business and industries will have to change their contact protocols in the event of a hazardous spill or release of chemicals to notify the Monett Police Department at 235-2225. Trained dispatchers will then notify either Barry or Lawrence County emergency management directors of the spill amount and location in the county of jurisdiction. Standard remediation protocols will remain the same.
The closure will mean that David Compton, Barry County emergency manager, will relocate the Barry County administrative duties and work from an office in the Cassville area once those arrangements are finalized.
All mandatory Tier II reports from industries and businesses will continue to be maintained at the Monett Judicial Center in a dedicated file.
Currently, the LEPD has only logged 95 Tier II reports from the bi-county area. Those annual reports were due March 1.
LEPD members approved sending two people to attend an upcoming hazardous materials symposium taking place May 15-18 at Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach.
Members were also reminded of the upcoming State Emergency Management Agency's (SEMA) conference taking place April 3-6 in Branson.
A storm spotter class is also scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on April 5 at the Marc, (formerly Church on the Loop), in Mt. Vernon.
Karen Eagleston, with the Missouri Emergency Response Commission, is presently reviewing the LEPD's hazardous materials plan. Eagleston is tentatively scheduled to attend the next regular meeting of the LEPD to discuss her recommendations.
According to Tom Jones, vice chairman of the LEPD, this year's release of the Emergency Response Guides (ERGs) for all fire and police departments, ambulance services and first responders, are running three months behind.
Chet Hunter, Lawrence County emergency management director, will get an estimate on the number of copies needed for appropriate agencies in the bi-county area and pre-order the guides.
The next regular meeting of the LEPD will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday, April 19 in the basement at 1901 E. Cleveland in Monett.