County's 911 director fields Lowell council questions

2012-10-10T19:45:00Z 2012-10-12T17:14:57Z County's 911 director fields Lowell council questionsMelanie Csepiga Times Correspondent
October 10, 2012 7:45 pm  • 

LOWELL | The Town Council got the abridged version on the 911 consolidation issue and had questions answered by Lake County's director Monday.

Council President Phillip Kuiper, D-4th, said it was at the council's request that Jeff Cicillian talked about the topic which has the county and state at odds.

Worrisome to the council, though, is what might be additional costs for Lowell and its residents.

Cicillian said all 18 Lake County departments must sign on to a state-required, interlocal agreement to consolidate police and fire dispatching services by Dec. 31, 2014.* If not, he said Lake County will lose $2.6 million from the state.

"We're guaranteed the $2.6 million, but we want more," he told the council.

Cicillian said Lake County users pay 90 cents a month. They paid 39 cents until July 1.* Elsewhere in the state, users pay 90 cents, he said.

He suggested the 911 issue is being used to force Lake County to adopt an option tax. All other Indiana counties already have done so.

Councilman Craig Earley, D-1st, expressed concern that once Lowell fire and ambulance would be dispatched, the consolidated 911 dispatcher would leave the line.

Once on the scene, the responders often still require dispatch services, he said.

Cicillian said someone would remain on the line with the responders until no longer needed.

After learning from Cicillian an 800 area code trunk line will eventually be required for consolidated dispatch, Councilman Don Parker, D-3rd, asked who would pay for that eventual line.

Cicillian said the county is requesting pricing for either purchase or lease of the line, which likely would be funded through bonding.*

Cicillian also said departments probably will be responsible for the radio hip units necessary.*

Councilman Edgar Corns, R-5th, voiced his concern over language barriers, but Cicillian said the county now subscribes to a Fort Wayne-based service for three-way translations.

Kuiper asked the council be kept apprised of future public meetings on the topic.

* Editor's note: This story has been updated from an earlier version.

Some clarification and corrections are necessary for a story that appeared in some editions Thursday about the 911 consolidation.

Eighteen Lake County departments must sign an interlocal agreement for 911 consolidated dispatching by Dec. 31, 2014.

With no agreement, the county risks losing $2.6 million in state user fees that would be returned to the county. However, Lake County users send $4 million plus in user fees downstate.

The current Lake County 911 rate for users is 90 cents a month. It was 39 cents until July 1.

There is no infrastructure now for an 800 megahertz radio trunking system. Lake County is requesting pricing for either purchase or lease. It likely will be funded through bonding.

Departments probably will be responsible for buying their subscriber units; that is, portable or mobile radios.

The Times regrets the errors.

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