BROOKVILLE — The Jefferson County 911 Center upgraded their radio console in the center, updating from a console from 1996 that the center has been using.
Jefferson County 911 Coordinator Chris Clark said the age of the machine was presenting difficulties for the center, and they had managed their funds for this purchase.
“It was a project that we needed to do for our own purposes. The console we had was purchased in 1996, so we ran on that system for 24 years. It’s end of life was actually in 2012,” Clark said.
The manufacturer was not available for support in any repairs the console needed, because the company either went out of business or was absorbed by another company according to Clark. He said the 911 center radio techs were able to maintain the radio from other parts that were available on reserve.
Jefferson County 911 also bought Clearfield’s system because it was the same, and used it for parts as needed for about eight years.
“It wasn’t that we couldn’t, but out of trying to be financially smart. That brought us to 2020, and we were able to get something that’s a much more stable platform that uses today’s tech and environment. The system we got wasn’t a new system, like a new company or product, that product has been around for several years, so we got the benefit of it being updated over several years so the bugs are worked out of it by the time it gets here,” Clark said.
Clark said he and the 911 center employees had been planning on the radio purchase for several years before going to the commissioners to have it included in their budget.
“We’re proud to say that by using our surcharge budget, we were able to install the new radio at no extra cost to the taxpayers,” Clark said.
Clark explained the surcharge budget is money collected from all phone lines in the state. He said anybody who gets a phone line is charged $1.65 per month for the line. All this money goes to the state and the state has s disbursement formula to disburse 83 percent of the funds into regional funding.
He explained that for some counties, this surcharge is enough for 911 centers to operate, and others have to use general fund tax dollars to make up the difference of operations.
“At Jefferson County, we pretty much have maintained our entire budget and expenses off of that surcharge revenue. We’re fortunate enough we’ve had a balance every year for bigger projects,” Clark said.