MUNSTER | Major proposed changes in the interlocal agreement for the consolidated E-911 system were introduced during Monday’s Town Council study session.
Nicole Bennett, attorney for the E-911 Commission, highlighted the updated agreement that was issued just prior to the meeting and includes changes in funding, expenses and responsibilities of each municipality.
The new agreement states that Lake County will pay for the capital expenditures to set up the state-mandated consolidated system with one Public Safety Answering Point, or a calling center, at the Lake County Government Complex in Crown Point. The second “dark site” in East Chicago has been eliminated. The startup costs are now $19.6 million versus the original plan’s $37 million.
The county also will be responsible for providing funds for PSAP operations, which the interlocal agreement states will be $10.1 million.
Money that will be contributed by each taxing unit or municipality will be combined with the more than $2 million in state E-911 funds to create this operations budget. There will be a deficit of an estimated $800,000 that the county will need to make up, Bennett said.
Fines from various court cases and tickets will be sought to make up that deficit, she said.
Municipalities also will keep the public safety funds coming from the local county option income tax Lake County recently started collecting. That’s been a major stumbling block to the original E-911 consolidation plan, Bennett said.
The change came about because the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance ruled that requiring municipalities to give their public safety dollars to this consolidation amounts to double taxation, Bennett said in her presentation.
In addition, the new interlocal agreement says Lake County commissioners will solicit proposals for the infrastructure, equipment and user equipment for the startup via requests for proposals.
Municipalities will purchase the number of in-car and portable radios needed by their individual police and fire departments. All radios will be received no later than Sept. 1.
Only a radio service provider will be allowed to program those radios.
“It is imperative to the proper functioning of the entire radio system that the radio programming be uniform,” according to the new interlocal.
Bennett said the consolidation will proceed with one PSAP regardless if all the taxing units sign on to the plan.
Frank Galvin, of Motorola, said the radio system will be 700 MHZ and will “play together” with the 800 MHZ radio frequencies used by the state of Indiana.
“You will have one of the best systems in the state. It will improve coverage and interoperability,” Galvin said.
The Munster Town Council study session was an information-gathering meeting. No decision on whether Munster will sign the new interlocal agreement was made.