Lifesaver sign-up fee reduced

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 1, 2007

JACKSON – Northampton County’s Project Lifesaver is quickly becoming a reality.

On Monday, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners approved to implement the county’s Project Lifesaver policy and membership information.

“Project Lifesaver is a reliable rescue program for wandering victims of Alzheimer’s and related mental disorders who reside in Northampton County,” said Debby Warren, the Director of Office on Aging.

Warren presented a policy with a one time membership fee of $250 required to be paid by the participants and a monthly service fee based on the participant’s monthly income.

Warren said that fee will not exceed $12.

“A cap of $3,000 from Northampton County local government will cover the yearly maintenance fee for 19 people until the program becomes self-sustainable by donations, grants, fees, etc.,” she said.

While the commissioners agreed the program is needed in the county, they suggested the one time membership fee was a little steep.

“This is a program needed in our area and our county,” said Vice Chairman Commissioner Robert Carter (D-3rd). “As I look at our program I have a couple questions.”

Carter asked if the fee could be waived for those who could not come up with the money.

Warren said it was up to the commissioners whether or not they wanted to waive it.

Commissioner Fannie Greene (D-5th) also expressed the same concerns as Carter but was unsure of waiving the fee.

“If we waived the fee, what’s the plan?” she questioned.

Warren suggested the possibility of the family of the participant to pull together the fee.

Commissioner James Hester (D-1st) said if the county did not establish a fee requirement, there would not be intent to take care of the device.

“I know if I were to pay $250 for something I would take care of it,” he said.

Greene agreed with Hester, but added the price of the fee should be lowered.

Commissioner Chester Deloatch (D-4th) agreed with Greene by stating the fee would be a strain to those it served.

County Manager Wayne Jenkins reminded the commissioners when the county first decided to go forward with the project it was discussed to make the project self-sustaining so not to draw on tax money.

Greene offered a motion to reduce the fee from $250 to $100 for 19 people. It was seconded by Hester. The motion passed without objection

On August 6 the Northampton County Commissioners approved Project Lifesaver for their county.

The project requires bracelets to be worn by participants and tracking devices operated by trained personnel, like a local law enforcement agency, are used to locate the bracelets.