The Richmond Register

May 28, 2012

Local governments, FEMA to fund E-911 upgrade

Madison County

By Ronnie Ellis
Register News Writer


Funding from local governments matched in part by a federal grant will be used to upgrade 12-year-old equipment at the E-911 center at a cost of nearly $1 million.

A new phone system has been estimated to cost $750,000 and a new Computer Aided Dispatch system is estimated at $225,000.

Information about the funding and costs was given last week by Madison Judge/Executive Kent Clark during a meeting of the fiscal court.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to match the county for $375,000, and the balance will be borrowed by the county through the Kentucky Association of Counties at a locked-in interest rate of 3 percent. The remaining amount will be divided between Richmond, Berea and Madison County governments.

“Before we sign off on the loan, we’ll have a Memorandum of Agreement from all governments that we’re all responsible equally for the payment, and then look at options to where we don’t get in this position again,” Clark said. “To get 12 years out of a phone system is unheard of and we have to do this. It’s of utmost importance.”

Once the agreement is signed, each of the local government will be responsible for paying $51,000 a year for the next four years.

“This (current) system will only do audio,” said Wendy Lynch, E-911 director. “To be next-generation compliant, we need to have the ability to do audio, stream data and video. This equipment is what logs the caller’s location and gives us the carrier or customer information on the 911 screen to log their physical address if it is a land line  911 call, or their latitude and longitude if it is a cellular call.”

The high cost of the upgrade project is because both the CAD and phone systems need upgrading.

“It just so happens that we need both at the same time,” Lynch said.

The volume of annual land line calls has increased only slightly over the years, going from 8,809 in 2008 to 8,852 in 2011. However, the volume of cell phone calls has increased from 33,277 to 46,700, a 40 percent increase.

The bids for the work should be ready for advertisement in July, according to Carl Richards, director of Madison County’s Emergency Management Agency.

Ronica Shannon can be reached at rshannon@ or 624-6608.