Planners must determine how many answering points the 911 system will have and where they'll be located.
By NORMAN LEIGH
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
LISBON -- Officials are trying to finalize a plan for a 911 emergency telephone answering system in Columbiana County so that a funding mechanism for it can be put before voters in November.
An advisory committee made up of representatives of area governments and area police, fire, disaster and emergency medical personnel is charged with developing the plan.
The group, led by commissioner Dave Cranmer, met Thursday to review a 911 assessment submitted by a consultant hired to review the county's needs.
William Stanton & amp; Associates of Coshocton suggested that the county consider a system consisting of four 911 answering points.
Stanton proposed that one facility each be located in Salem, Lisbon, East Liverpool and East Palestine, which lead the county in the number of emergency calls received.
Each of the answering points would take 911 calls from within their boundaries and from adjacent areas, thereby covering the entire county.
Costs: The combined cost of providing equipment for the four locations would range from about $214,400 to $428,400.
It would take about 30 people to staff all four facilities.
Members of the 911 committee estimated that pay and benefits for each worker, excluding an administrator, would cost about $20 an hour, which comes out to about $1.2 million annually.
To buy equipment, the county is expected to rely on an estimated $400,000 settlement Ameritech made with the state over a service dispute.
Surcharge likely: To pay operating expenses, the 911 system probably would have to rely on a monthly surcharge on business and residential phone lines in the county as well as cell phone accounts.
Officials are trying to get an updated line count, which would help them know whether to seek a surcharge of 50 cents or $1.
It may be necessary to reduce the number of answering points to bring costs in line with revenues, Cranmer suggested.
Voters will have a final say in the matter because they would have to approve a surcharge.
The 911 committee members said they hope to place a surcharge measure on the November general election ballot.