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Expenses prevent upgrades for E911

By Staff | Jul 17, 2008

Due to inflation, antiquated equipment, skyrocketing costs and no upgrades, the Emmet County E911 Board discussed the placement of an increased surcharge on the November General Election ballot.

Emmet County E911 Coordinator Terry Reekers said the filing deadline is sometime in August. He has asked Emmet County Attorney Douglas Hansen to compose the written request for the ballot.

At the present time, telephone customers who use land lines are charged $1 per month for this surcharge. The board is seeking a $1 increase for 24 months. After that time, the $2 surcharge will revert to $1.

The fee has been kept low over the years as a consideration to the telephone users.

“But since 1993 we are getting the same dollar,” Reekers said.

Citing huge expenses, loss of customer base and unobtainable grant dollars, the board’s only option is to ask voters to consider the short-term surcharge increase.

Learning that the Interoperable Communications Systems Grant has been made available in Iowa, the board approved the motion to submit an application. Deadline is Friday, Aug. 22. Selected recipients are responsible for a 20 percent match.

In other matters, Reekers said the deadline to expend the monies from the Wireless Grant is three months away. If the grant money is not spent before the deadline, the award is withdrawn.

Board members brainstormed ideas on how to use the grant money in short order. Before long, the list grew extensively.

“I guess we have a lot of needs,” said Roger Anderson, board chair.

“The list is long and the money is short,” Reekers added.

The board unanimously approved the motion naming Reekers as the permanent E911 Service Board coordinator. He was thanked for his input and dedication. Reekers was also applauded for going to Parkersburg to lend his assistance and expertise after the devastating tornado.

It was noted old 1993 county plat books were found in the basement.

The board will meet on Wednesday, Aug. 20 at 6:30 p.m.