CROWN POINT | Lake County commissioners hired a Merrillville accounting firm to calculate how much money each city and town will have to contribute to a consolidated E-911 communications network.
The Board of Commissioners awarded a $125,000 contract Wednesday to Cender & Co. to work as a consultant for them for the next 15 months.
Karl Cender, owner of the firm and a certified public accountant, said his firm has been in business for the last 10 years. Its website indicates it has provided auditing services for a variety of cities, counties, towns, libraries, schools and other local government units.
The state is mandating Lake County merge its 17 county, city and town police and fire radio communication systems by the end of 2014 and will require the county to pay for the new consolidated system, which could cost as much as $8 million annually to operate.
Commissioner Michael Repay, D-Hammond, said Cender will comb public documents of the municipal departments to determine how many tax dollars they spend on E-911 services, so their contribution to the consolidated system can be fairly assessed by the county.
Repay said using a consultant to do this may help reduce any tension between county and municipal officials who have differed over the design and cost of a consolidated system. Cender could provide preliminary estimates of E-911 costs by late summer.
Commissioners recently ended their relationship with a number of E-911 consultants they used for several years because commissioners believed the consolidation wasn't moving quickly enough.
Repay said the county is still looking for a new E-911 director.