WP looks at call center contract

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 1, 2016

WEST POINT — The city could be getting some help in the near future handling the high volume of after-hours customer service phone calls.

During Thursday morning’s mayor and City Council work session, City Manager Ed Moon outlined a proposal from Interactive Utility Communications to provide call answering services for the city.

Moon explained that during regular business hours, the city has adequate customer service representatives to handle a high volume of calls. However, after hours and on weekends, the city’s 911 dispatcher winds up answering all calls, because there’s no one to answer any other city phone lines.

City residents know what number to call if the power is out, but if no one answers, they wind up calling 911, Moon said. And, if there is a major emergency, such as the child who was killed when a tree fell during a storm, the emergency call can’t go through because of the other calls.

Interactive Utility Communications would field all the calls coming in on city lines after hours weekdays and on weekends, and would pass the call to the appropriate on-call city employee.

Moon said the service has a lot of technical features, such as text and email notifications through the city’s hyperweb system.

Moon said the company indicated it could be up and running by the end of July if the mayor and council approve their proposal.

The service would cost $1,000 a month for up to 400 live call minutes per month. The contract would be for one year, with cancellation thereafter with 90 days’ notice.

The city would pay a one-time $1,300 programming setup fee and $1,000 for training.

Prior to the work session, a public hearing was held on rezoning the property at 208 Sunset Drive from commercial to R-1A. The owner is making the request because the property is actually being used as residential and the rezoning would conform with surrounding property.

Fire Chief Mitt Smith announced that the city would be benefiting from federal grant funds to replace older self-contained breathing apparatus for the fire department.

Smith said the city and Troup County applied for and received a grant in the amount of $633,600 for the devices. The city will pay a local match of $14,400, which Smith said was available. The SCBA cost $6,600 each, so the city is getting $158,400 in equipment — 24 units — for the $14,400.

Moon updated the mayor and council on the renovations at Virginia Cook Day Care Center. Moon said electrical work is 90 percent complete, all the glass is in, the HVAC is in, a primer coat has been applied and the plumbing is in except for fixtures. He added that the project should be completed about on schedule.

Councilwoman Gloria Marshall asked if anything was being done about extending hours at the city’s new splash park. Moon said the hours could be extended and he would talk with the recreation department about having a free family evening at the splash park.

Cy Wood

Valley Times-News

Courtesy of the Valley Times-News through a content-sharing agreement.