E-911 question misses ballot deadline

2012-07-10T21:05:00Z E-911 question misses ballot deadlineBy Bill Dolan bill.dolan@nwi.com, (219) 662-5328 nwitimes.com

CROWN POINT | The Lake County Council said goodbye Tuesday to a proposed $30 million loan to start up the E-911 consolidation.

Council members requested an update on last month's plan to put the multimillion-dollar bond issue before the voters as a referendum on the Nov. 6 general election ballot. Lake County Attorney John Dull said the deadlines have expired for the accepted 16-step process to ask voters to approve a one-time property tax addition.

Dull said he looked into an alternative way to get the referendum before voters, but warned that approach could be tied up by taxpayer litigation and counseled the council to avoid it.

The council took no further action on the issue.

However, a state mandate remains for Lake County to merge 18 community-based police and fire department dispatch units into a countywide call-center system.

Larry Blanchard, an administrative assistant for the Board of Lake County Commissioners, said the council or another local government fiscal body could authorize a series of smaller bond issues that could finance construction of two regional call centers in East Chicago and Hobart and equip the centers and police and firefighters with new communications gear, as recommended by most local police and fire officials.

Police and fire leaders are spending the next two months lobbying their elected community leaders to support E-911 consolidation by signing an interlocal agreement shifting the approximately $8 million the 18 city, town and county government bodies now spend on emergency communications to a new countywide E-911 authority.

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