CROWN POINT | Lake County commissioners hired another consultant Wednesday to guide the E-911 consolidation process.
Director Brian Hitchcock recommended commissioners hire Mazzitello Professional Services to provide technical advice on seeking competitive bids from vendors to provide between $12 million and $15 million in communication gear needed to launch a countywide E-911 service next year.
The county already employs Shared Resource Solutions Inc., of Hammond, as an E-911 consultant.
Commissioner Roosevelt Allen, D-Gary, said Mazzitello already oversees similar vendor bidding for other communities. The new consulting firm will earn $125 per hour under the contract adopted Wednesday.
Commissioners also confirmed that East Chicago's annex building at 4444 Railroad Ave. will be used as a secondary or "dark" call center for the county E-911 service. It would be used on an emergency basis if the primary location in the Lake County Government Complex in Crown Point becomes disabled.
Commissioners debated whether the county could afford a dark site because it would cost millions of dollars in building renovations, security measures and furnishings for both emergency communications command centers.
Commissioner Gerry Scheub, D-Crown Point, suggested the county save money by using existing 911 centers for a backup facility.
Hitchcock said none of those facilities are large enough to meet the county's needs.