Whiting, Hobart and Munster officials favor E-911 merger

2013-12-02T18:30:00Z 2013-12-02T21:43:09Z Whiting, Hobart and Munster officials favor E-911 mergerBill Dolan bill.dolan@nwi.com, (219) 662-5328 nwitimes.com
December 02, 2013 6:30 pm  • 

Whiting Mayor Joseph Stahura and Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor said Monday they are preparing to join the county E-911 consolidation.

Stahura said the decision is in line with state law requiring Lake County to merge its 17 community-based police and fire communication services into a single countywide network by the end of 2014 or risk losing millions of dollars in state subsidies for the current 911 system.

They follow the Crown Point, East Chicago, Hammond and Lake Station mayors who in recent days have endorsed the county's single Public Safety Answering Point as opposed to splitting the county into two communications districts with its urban centers in one and its suburban in another.

St. John town officials complained late last summer the county's one-district plan would have cost cities and towns too much, $56 million from their new local income tax revenues over the next decade. St. John officials recruited a number of south suburban communities to sign on to their two-district plan.

County officials responded to the critics last month by backing away from their demands for city and town income tax money and agreeing to bear most of the cost of building and equipping a merged police and fire dispatch service.

The county still will receive 90 percent of the cities and towns property tax money now devoted to the operational costs of 911 call services.

Munster Town Manager Thomas F. DeGiulio said Monday he believes those changes will bring most municipal offices over to the county model. He said he is confident the Munster Town Council will approve it at its Dec. 16 meeting.

The town of Griffith is scheduled to  take up the matter tonight and Schererville, Merrillville and the Lake County Board of Commissioners could do so next week.

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