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Emergency services communication proposal coming to a vote     Send a link to a friend

[MARCH 13, 2004]  The Logan County Emergency Telephone System Board is giving citizens an opportunity to keep their enhanced 9-1-1 emergency service communications operating at its very best and to even improve the system. Logan County has had the best security offered, using cutting-edge technology and having emergency support agencies that collaborate well with one another. That has happened because of a lot of forethought.

According to the ETSB board, it is time to make a final change in the operation and replace or upgrade aging equipment.

The recommendation is fully supported by the Lincoln City Council, the Logan County Board, Lincoln Police Chief Rich Montcalm and Sheriff Steve Nichols.

On March 16 the voters of Logan County will be asked to approve a $1.95 surcharge on their residential phone bill. This is an increase of $1.10 from the 85 cents currently charged on all landlines.

The purpose of this referendum is to enable the consolidation of the Communication Center, place it under the control and operation of the Logan County Emergency Telephone System Board, and make needed improvements to equipment. This consolidation will enhance the efficiency of the 9-1-1 services provided to the residents of Logan County.

If the referendum is passed, the Logan County ETSB intends to implement the following:

1. Continued improvement of emergency dispatch services to the citizens of Logan County, including police, fire, rescue, medical and other emergency functions

2. Reorganization of the Communication Room

a. One leadership: ETSB

b. No distinction will be made between city and county 9-1-1 calls. All calls will be handled efficiently and professionally.

c. All 9-1-1 dispatchers will receive the same training and follow the same procedure.

3. Benefits to the professional emergency communicators

a. Equalized compensation and benefits

4. Complete civilian dispatch

a. Allows current sworn officers to be returned to law enforcement duties

5. Enable the county sheriff and Lincoln police chief to focus on law enforcement issues, while the ETSB focuses on dispatch duties as required by local, state and federal law.

6. Improvement of dispatching procedures to keep up with higher level of demands for public safety in partnership with homeland security

7. Replacement of antiquated equipment that is becoming difficult and costly to maintain

a. Avoid potential reduction in efficiency while waiting for hard-to-find parts.

b. Avoid specialized parts and labor that are becoming more expensive as the parts become more scarce.

Some questions and answers

1. What will the extra $1.10 surcharge provide?

a. ETSB will pay for the operation of the Communication Room in partnership with the county of Logan and the city of Lincoln.

b. The extra funding will facilitate the upgrade and enhancement of the Communication Room's equipment. The current aging equipment was installed in 1993.

c. The extra funding will provide uniform 9-1-1 dispatcher training in order to enhance the efficiency of the Communication Room.

 

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2. How long has it been since ETSB asked for an increase of the 9-1-1 surcharge?

ETSB has never requested an increase since its inception. The 9-1-1 surcharge began in May 1990.

3. If passed, when will consolidation occur?

If passed, ETSB will assume management May 2004.

4. Do the sheriff of Logan County and the Lincoln city chief of police support this proposition?

YES

Take a close look at the following figures, which provide a comparative view. These are counties that are approximately the same size or smaller than Logan.

County Population Surcharge
Bureau 35,503 $1.95
Christian 35,572 2.00
DeWitt 16,781 1.25
Edgar 19,595 2.00
Effingham 34,264 2.75
Franklin 39,018 1.50
Fulton 38,250 1.85
Grundy 37,535 1.80
Livingston 39,678 1.50
Logan 31,183 .85
Massac 15,000 1.95
Menard 14,000 3.25
McDonough 32,913 1.40
Montgomery 30,652 2.00
Morgan 36,436 1.00

(also planning to increase their rates)

Piatt 15,696 1.95
Randolph 33,893 .98
Williamson 43,000 1.55
Woodford 35,469 1.25

Figures for counties close to us with significantly larger populations:

 

Champaign 168,473 $1.50
Knox 56,289 1.25
Macon 133,000 .90
McLean 140,000 1.25
Sangamon 186,000 .75
Peoria 185,000 .80
Tazewell 141,200 .80

The board suggests that you think of the difference in technology that you can see in your own home. You probably don't have the same TV, radio, computer or stereo that you had 15 years ago.

Now think if you need help in an emergency. You want the best for you and yours, don't you?

[Jan Youngquist]

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