According to Brown, patchy reception has marred the entire bottom third of the county as well as the east end around McKinney and Moreland.
Radio Communications Systems of Lexington has been hired to look at the repeater and provide quotes for a new system.
Magistrates expressed their dismay with the situation. "I don't think this thing was ever up to date. I think we got sold a bill of goods," Judge-Executive Buckwheat Gilbert said, but wondered where money for the new system would come from, even after reading the first draft of the board's budget.
After closely examining the document, Gilbert and magistrates questioned several expenditures on the list, including the 8 percent raise for the 911 coordinator. County employees received a cost-of-living raise of 1.88 percent this year, said Gilbert. Other line items seemed to be higher than needed, leading to a $20,000 requested increase in the budget.
"I don't think they need to pad up one line item to transfer to another," said Gilbert. The fire board will now have to submit a revised budget to the magistrates, for another close scrutiny.
"But it's our job to oversee that budget," Gilbert said. "When you're on a thin budget to begin with, you don't give raises."
"We're not going to let the 911 go down, but we're going to look at every penny, it needs to be there," Magistrate Earlin Cress said.
Magistrates voted against raising the county's income Thursday night as well, approving the current real property tax rate at 9.4 percent or $.094 per $100 of property valuation. The county will have to advertise a public hearing regarding the new rate in the local paper for two weeks before the rate can go into effect.
Magistrate Bill Dyehouse said he voted to keep the rate the same because the county, financially, is doing well. "We've got good income. We're not hurting for money," said Dyehouse. "We've made good, sound decisions in the last couple years, and it's allowed us to be able to operate and have things in the county we've never had before."