It’s ‘all for one, one for all’ with E-911 funding
ST. JOHN — All participants must sign the interlocal agreement for Lake County’s consolidated E-911 or no one will get a dime from the state in E-911 funding.
Thursday, Nicole Bennett, attorney for the Lake County Public Safety Communications Commission, told members they need to convey to their elected officials the state views the E-911 consolidation as an “all for one, one for all” situation.
It is the state’s position if one entity does not participate in the E-911 consolidation, that entity will not only lose its E-911 dollars from the state, but all 17 of the taxing bodies that are part of the consolidation would lose their funding as well.
“I think the reality needs to be very, very clear to all of your local governments — you affect your neighbor,” Bennett said.
Bennett said in her months since taking over legal responsibilities for the E-911 commission she has spoken with several elected officials who wanted to know the ramifications of not participating in the consolidation and instead opting to keep their individual dispatch centers.
Those communities need to know their actions will impact every other community in Lake County, she said. While one community could potentially offset the loss of E-911 funds from the state within its own budget, others who need their E-911 funds to operate could be negatively impacted.
Bennett said the interlocal agreement has come about as far as it can until Cender and Associates finishes the financial data needed and the new E-911 director takes his post.
Larry Blanchard, consultant to the Lake County Board of Commissioners, said the commission has received financial information from all of the public safety answering points in Lake County and Cender is compiling the data. The information is expected to be available in a report by mid-July.
Thomas Dabertin, consultant to the E-911 commission, said new director Brian Hitchcock is in the process of relocating from Davenport, Iowa, to Northwest Indiana. He is expected to take the post on or about July 22.
Bennett said until the financial data is available for inclusion in the interlocal, and until Hitchcock has had a chance to determine if the current capital equipment estimate is adequate it cannot be complete.
She said once the numbers are plugged in, a public meeting will take place in mid-August including elected officials, their attorneys and representatives from the state legislature to answer questions and gather final input for the final draft of the document, which will then be circulated for approval among the cities and towns.