EDITORIAL: No time for delays on E911 consolidation

2013-10-03T00:00:00Z EDITORIAL: No time for delays on E911 consolidation nwitimes.com
October 03, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Let us once more make this clear to officials throughout Lake County: E911 consolidation must happen, and it must happen before the Dec. 31, 2014, deadline.

If that deadline isn't met, Lake County stands to lose $2.6 million in state funding for E911 service -- money being paid through surcharges on phone bills in Lake County and elsewhere.

The law will not change. That point has been made again and again. There is no point asking local lawmakers to plead for a reprieve. They have already refused to do so.

And rather than seek local bids for radio equipment, the county should use the state's quantity purchasing agreement, for which bids were already sought and approved. Don't reinvent that wheel.

Seeking local bids is another delay, and enough time has been wasted enough. Buying through the state's QPA is not one of the no-bid contracts for which Lake County has become notorious; it's just that the bids were vetted by the state instead of by the county.

And stick with the existing plan for a fully consolidated E911 dispatch operation rather than throwing a secession movement led by St. John into the mix.

Yes, the law allows for up to two centers, but it's too late for this wrinkle. Besides, it's time Lake County residents and their public officials learn how to work together toward a common goal.

Finally, when the interlocal agreements on the consolidation are made available, with the costs spelled out, the appropriate governing bodies need to sign them and not whine about the costs.

They're already spending that much on dispatch services as it is. This won't be an additional burden. Quibbling about the cost is really about refusing to work with other communities.

Bottom line, E911 consolidation will improve operational efficiency, if not save money, and it's the law. Accept it, trust the E911 architect hired to launch the newly consolidated system, and make it happen on time.

Lake County has enough black eyes downstate as it is. Don't add E911 consolidation dysfunction to that list.

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