County appoints committee to explore upgrade of E911 system

County appoints committee to explore upgrade of E911 system by David Lias The Clay County Commission agreed Tuesday to appoint a panel to explore options for upgrading the county�s E911 system so that it will be operable when the year 2000 arrives.

Karen Olson of the city�s telecommunications department informed the committee recently that the computer system that was installed approximately five years ago must be replaced before Jan. 1.

She estimates that the cost of the new computer equipment and spare parts will total approximately $26,000.

�We need a number ID upgrade, a location ID upgrade, and computer equipment,� Olson told the commission. �We need to replace the computer and controller that�s in place now.�

Sheriff Dusty Passick has been critical of the consulting firm that offered its advice to the county when it upgraded from a regular 911 system to an enhanced 911 system a few years ago.

It�s not clear if that firm is still in business. Recent discussions at commission meetings have noted that it is probably unlikely that the county will be able to achieve any sort of financial relief from the consultants.

The enhanced 911 system has been paid for in Clay County by a surcharge tacked on to the phone bills of county residents.

City Manager Jeff Pederson, who was a member of the task force that helped set up the E911 system, said the city considers the computer system to be equipment.

Regulations adopted by the city and county call for the county to utilize the 911 surcharge until the equipment is paid for.

�The regulations are written in recognition that there will continue to be equipment needs,� Pederson said. �It seems most appropriate that the annual proceeds of the 911 surcharge be used to purchase equipment.�

He suggested that representatives of the city and county meet to determine if the surcharge is the proper way to pay for the upgrade.

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