Bryant council votes to reinstate "Code Red" service

BRYANT (KATV) - A unanimous vote from city council members present at a special meeting, Monday evening to reappropriate funds for the city's Code Red emergency alert system. But aldermen were all shaking their heads as to how funding for the alert system passed them by in the first place. Mayor Jill Dabbs wasn't present at the meeting, but issued a press release earlier in the day stating, "Early in 2014 the Bryant city council passed a bare bones budget and cut numerous appropriations including the Code Red non-weather related notifications." But council members said they weren't aware they had pulled the funding for it in the first place. Alderman Randy Cox, Ward 2, said blaming the defunding of Code Red on the council doesn't make sense. "Everything during her [Dabbs] administration is always done under professional contract services," said Cox, citing where council members would have located the funding line in the 2014 budget. "How would we know if it was in there or not because it's just a lump total of whatever contractual services they had?" Monday night, when Bryant aldermen voted to appropriate funds to pay for the Code Red service, they made sure to include in the resolution to label Code Red funding properly in future budgets. But according to the company - Emergency Communications Network, the operators of Code Red, the city never actually cancelled their service with the service provider, despite the money not being appropriated when the city passed the budget back in March. Now according to ECN, the city actually owes the company $10,000 for the 2014 year. "It would have been unethical for me to use a service that the city council has not appropriated funds to pay for," responded Dabbs, when asked why despite the service still being available to the city that she did not initiate a warning regarding a precautionary boil order a couple weeks back. Dabbs said she now will utilize the service because the money has been properly allocated for the service in the budget. "We are very grateful that they passed that and that we are back online full board with Code Red," said Dabbs. Dabbs and Cox face off against each other in the November election for mayor of Bryant. Dabbs said these accusations of her lying about Code Red are just Cox politicizing the issue. Cox vehemently denies politicizing the issue, rather saying he's just concerned for the safety of residents.