Summers 911 change set to be discussed
Dec 27, 2012 (The Register-Herald - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A public hearing to explain and hear public comments on Summers County's proposed Enhanced 911 Ordinance is set for Friday at 10 a.m. in the Summers County Commission Chambers located in the county courthouse.
If adopted after the hearing Friday, the ordinance will raise the 911 fee from $1.85 to $3.85 per month per local phone line or line equivalent to finance the projected costs of the enhanced emergency telephone system.
According to the ordinance, the fees will be used only to install, operate and maintain the system, including costs expected to be incurred while establishing, equipping and furnishing a new 911 Emergency Operations Center.
The ordinance explains, "Additional expenses in the coming years are projected for the answering point (new 911 office) as the current answering point (within the Summers County Memorial Building) no longer has sufficient space to adequately serve the community. Accordingly, projected expenses in the coming years include construction costs associated with the building of a new building to house the answering point. Projected expenses also include expenses associated with furnishing said new building and purchasing additional electronic equipment used in the handling of emergency calls."
Commission President Jerry Berry commented, "Our consideration of raising the 911 fee now is just good forward thinking and planning by the 911 director and the commission. Imminently we will have to build a new facility as we are at capacity in the facility we are now in."
Berry said the new facility, which is still five or 10 years down the road, will be a $4.7 million or $5 million construction project.
He said raising the fee now will give the county enough funds to put a down payment on the facility and make the monthly payments manageable.
The $3.85 fee is expected to be reduced once capital and installation costs have been recovered.
The proposed fee will become effective Jan. 1, 2013, if the ordinance is approved.
In addition to delineating the costs of installing the enhanced 911 system, the new ordinance indicates fines for knowingly misusing the 911 reporting system can run between $200 and $5,000 and/or up to one year in jail.
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