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E-911 budget hearing slated – $1 surcharge increase to be on November ballot

By Staff | Feb 9, 2008

Proposed fiscal budget and public hearing date, grant considerations and a possible 911-surcharge increase were the major attention-grabbers at the monthly Emmet County E-911 Service Board meeting Thursday night in Estherville at the Emmet County Court House.

Thursday, March 6 at 7 p.m. was the approved time and date for the proposed budget public hearing in the courthouse board room. The board’s financial plan for fiscal year 2008-09 is $279,739.

Terry Reekers, board secretary and E-911 coordinator, reported the motherboard of station one in the control room at the county’s Law Enforcement Center failed a week ago.

“We virtually lost everything,” he said of the main component of the 911 computers.

The company contacted to make necessary repairs, Emerg-i-tech, is charging an exorbitant fee because the computers were purchased from a second party vendor.

Reekers noted that station 2 is not the repairing company’s product either. Station one is up and running but not at full capacity.

The board instructed Reekers to read over the Emerg-i-tech purchase agreement and report back to the board on March 6.

Discussion then focused on the Assistance to Fire Fighter Grant Program and radios. Board member Dan Jorgensen said the the grant application should be scaled back to the radio needs of the Emmet County Sheriff’s Department, Emergency Medical Services, Emmet County Emergency Management and law enforcement. He added each fire department could write separate grant applications for fire, EMS, EMA and law enforcement.

After further discussion, the board preferred to file one grant application with the Ringsted Fire Department as the sponsoring agency. Jorgensen said the focus of the main grant application would benefit the county as a whole with the purchase of mobile and portable radios.

Reekers noted he was contacted by the office of Rep. Tom Latham and was informed of the congressman’s disappointment when Emmet County’s application was denied a second time.

“He recommends we refile,” Reekers stated.

The board approved the motion to make application for the purchase of radios.

In other matters, Estherville Police Chief Eric Milburn believes it is in the county’s best interest to pursue a dollar hike in the monthly 911 surcharge.

“Tell me who in this county, relying on services of ambulance, fire department and law enforcement, wouldn’t want to pay an additional $24 over a two- year period?”

The board unanimously approved this motion, reiterating that the surcharge, if passed by the electorate, would be in effect for only 24 months starting Jan. 1, 2009.

Board Chairman Roger Anderson said the issue will be on the November ballot.