My local paper, the Gratiot County Herald, is running a cover story this week on the new 911 center to be built for the county.
Following 2 1/2 hours of debate, which included the rejection of several proposals, the [Gratiot County Central Dispatch Authority] approved constructing a “berm-type” structure of up to 3,000 square feet on county-owned property in the South Ithaca Industrial Park.
The authority had also considered placing a 2,500 square foot addition onto the north end of the jail and a three-acre parcel owned by businessman Rod Merchant located in Ithaca’s East Commerce Park.
Since this is an on-going story (on and off for over a year now) there are a few details the writers assume you know — since most people don’t just subscribe or pick up an issue out of the blue, a rather safe assumption — the current 911 center is the in the county sherrif’s dispatch office, there are only 3 employees for the 911 center, and in 2002 the voters approved a 16% increase in the telephone surcharge to completely pay for central dispatch services (including the current 911 center).
Now they want to build a 3,000 square foot building to house equipment and the three employees and additional funds to buy new equipment and pay for 6 more dispatchers. Something that most people say aren’t needed right now, there are some people — like my dad — who believe that the 911 system isn’t needed in our area. There are very few calls as is so that dialing ‘0’ for the operator would work just as fast.
Another issue I and other people have is the cost involved. They are currently talking $125,000 for a 1,900 square foot basement that would be used only for storage. Greg Nelson — managing editor of the ‘Herald’ — commented in his editorial that:
Four years ago I had a walkout basement built out of concrete blocks for less than $15,000. The price included site work, drainage, windows, a sliding glass door, and septic hookup.
With the possible exception of some electrical upgrades and whether or not it’s built to withstand high winds, I’ve been told that there is no difference in codes for constructing a 911 center than any other type of building. So why is it that the architect’s prices seem so high?
It’s things like that that make people wonder about what is going on.
And I have to agree with everything he’s said not only in the quoted bit above but from the entire editorial. Too bad the ‘Herald’ doesn’t have its stories online I’d love to link to it.