Carroll County wants to piggyback onto 911 equipment

LISBON – Carroll County wants to piggyback onto Columbiana County’s 911 equipment as a way for both counties to save money when it comes time to upgrade their systems.

County 911 Director Robert Emmons reported Carroll County officials approached him recently about linking to their 911 equipment when the county upgrades to Next Generation (NG) 911, which allows 911 systems to accept text messages, photographs and videos from cellphones and other electronic devices.

The state is moving toward consolidating 911 systems, especially among smaller counties, and future funding may be allocated on that basis.

Rather than Carroll and Columbiana counties each purchasing their own NG 911 systems, Carroll County suggested linking to the county’s system as a way to save money, Emmons said. Carroll County’s 911 officials already obtained a price quote of $408,000 for a single NG 911 upgrade.

Emmons said the advantages are obvious, with Carroll County helping pay for the upgrade as well as its share of the maintenance and operational costs, although how much is something that would have to be worked out.

Carroll County, with a population of 28,836, only has one 911 answering center and it is located at the county sheriff’s office. Columbiana County has five answering centers.

The 911 systems would continue to operate separately but just be linked to the same equipment.

Emmons said Jefferson and Harrison counties have also expressed interest in linking to the county’s 911 equipment for the same reason. He said this might be the time to give some thought to the idea because the maintenance agreements for the current 911 system expires later this year and in early 2015. This would be a way to share those costs, which are an estimated $75,000 per year.

Commissioner Tim Weigle said this is something they could consider. ” Before I could make any rational decision I would really need to know the particulars” about how this would work and what impact it would have on the county, he said.