Tax to pay for Lake County consolidated 911 doesn’t fly
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent March 29, 2013 9:44AM
Updated: May 1, 2013 2:42PM
ST. JOHN – County officials are toying with the idea of a .25 percent public safety tax to help fund the consolidated E-911 services in the latest draft version of the interlocal establishing the process.
However a memo from the Department of Local Government Finance providing the first indication how monies would be transferred from the E-911 portion of the levies of all the participating cities and towns rendered the information moot.
The tax presumably would be part of a county income tax package officials plan to discuss as part of the plan to balance the county’s budget into the future.
Lake County Sheriff John Buncich and his attorney John Bushemi Thursday shared the contents of the latest revision and what they described as significant changes to the agreement with members of the Lake County Public Safety Communications Commission. Buncich urged the E-911 panel’s executive board to be present at county council work sessions, commissioners’ meetings and any executive session where the E-911 consolidation may be discussed.
Bushemi said there were 10 key points that were different from the version of the interlocal agreement created from the consensus of elected officials and municipal attorneys who met in November to discuss the contents of a version they believed each of the participants would sign.
“It is a substantial rewrite of the of the former interlocal,” Bushemi said, adding E-911 commission members need to start thinking in terms of strategy as to how they want to move whatever the final version approved by the county council may be forward.
“When the (county) council and commissioners get a final draft … no doubt we will get another round of questions and submissions,” Bushemi said. He recommended another question and input session with elected officials and attorneys before it heads to councils and boards for approval.
The current revision is a more detailed document that outlines individual city and town financial contributions toward the new consolidation public safety answering point. It also sets a series of deadlines for approval of the interlocal, completion of construction of the facility and March 2014 operational date.
Panel members said the dates outlined in the document would be unrealistic. The project is already falling behind schedule just to meet the state-mandated January 2015 operational deadline.
Tom Dabertin, a consultant with the E-911 commission, via email after the meeting said he had spoken with Lake County Commissioners’ attorney John Dull and the version discussed by the sheriff and Bushemi was a draft not yet ready for review by the E-911 commission.
The information in the memo from the DLGF renders all the financial information in the interlocal obsolete.