Consolidated dispatch a "no-go".

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TechnoDave

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Plans for regional 911 center derailed

Cost too high, U.S. funds didn't materialize

Sunday, August 03, 2008
ERIN STOCK
News staff writer

Plans to build a 911 emergency dispatching center that would serve Jefferson County, Birmingham and a dozen other cities have been derailed, after a bid for federal dollars failed and an estimate for the project came in at $30 million, a county commissioner said last week.

County officials, who set aside $10 million for the project, now are looking to buy and outfit an existing building rather than build a new facility, Commissioner Bobby Humphryes said. They may have to scale back to an original plan for a center serving only the county sheriff's department and volunteer fire departments, he said.

"We were hoping to get some federal dollars, and they didn't materialize," Humphryes said. "We just need to find a way to do it where we can stay within our original $10 million budget."

A consolidated call center would allow municipalities to share everything, from computers to dispatchers, and the origin of calls made to local police and fire departments. Organizers have said it would improve services and communications, as well as save money.

Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale urged county leaders to continue lobbying for federal money, even if it takes more time.

"We have a great influential congressional delegation that will bring home the dollars," Hale said. "I would suggest that Commissioner Humphryes and the commission go to Washington and lobby hard for this."

Hale said a consolidated 911 call center would allow area law enforcement to talk on the same radio system and share resources.

"In an emergency, that's the safest, best thing for this community," he said.

Humphryes said the lobbying effort would continue. Meanwhile, a real estate agent has been asked to identify buildings that might be suitable for a call center.

County officials have said the $10 million is not enough to consolidate services with the surrounding communities into one center. The county requested $3.75 million in federal funds for the first phase of the project. It will get $300,000 at most, Humphryes said.

An architect told organizers last month that building the call center would cost $16 million or $17 million and that outfitting it would bring the total to $30 million, Humphryes said. Earlier estimates were $17 million to $20 million for the total project. County officials planned to build it on about nine acres of donated land at the Jefferson Metropolitan Park Lakeshore, Humphryes said.

Organizers last year discussed plans for a regional call center that would relocate dispatchers to the former Federal Reserve Building on Interstate 459 at Liberty Park, but a lease agreement could not be negotiated.

Governments that originally signed letters saying they were interested in joining with the county included Adamsville, Birmingham, Bessemer, the Center Point Fire District, Gardendale, Hueytown, Irondale, Kimberly, Leeds, Mountain Brook, Sylvan Springs, Tarrant, Trussville, Vestavia Hills, Warrior and Jefferson County.

Hueytown since has pulled out because it recently updated equipment in its communication center, Humphryes said. The list of participating cities might have changed and needs to be nailed down, he said.

Mountain Brook Mayor Terry Oden said organizers are at an impasse and need to figure out a way to secure some money.

"We go back to the drawing boards," he said.

E-mail: estock@bhamnews.com
 

EMS-1

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And so I was right in saying "It'll never get off the ground". Now maybe they can build it in the sewer because that's where all the money went and maybe since all the county's money is down the hole anyway perhaps old Happy-Go-Larry will take it on as his next big "accomplishment" since the generally accepted consensus these days indicates that those in any kind of local authority thoroughly lack the knowledge to ascertain the derriere from a hole in the ground LOL.
 
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And so I was right in saying "It'll never get off the ground". Now maybe they can build it in the sewer because that's where all the money went and maybe since all the county's money is down the hole anyway perhaps old Happy-Go-Larry will take it on as his next big "accomplishment" since the generally accepted consensus these days indicates that those in any kind of local authority thoroughly lack the knowledge to ascertain the derriere from a hole in the ground LOL.
Haha. I agree. And "Happy-Go-Larry" is a great name for him.
 

Grog

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Hale said a consolidated 911 call center would allow area law enforcement to talk on the same radio system and share resources.

I guess they don't know the difference between a shared radio system VS a place where people answer the phones and dispatch units?

There is nothing that would prevent five dispatch centers from using one radio system, or one dispatch center from using five radio systems.
 

SAR923

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Have they thought about maybe getting a new architect and another estimate? $30 million seems to be amazingly high for Alabama. We built a consolidated dispatch center that I'm sure would be at least the equal in size to Jeffereson County and the cost was $22 million...including all the radios....in California. Sounds like somebody's cousin is involved in this one.
 

Grog

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Nothing wrong with recycling either. In my last county of residence they took an old supermarket and completely rebuilt it as the new (and much larger) department of social services.

I went out with a gal who worked in what was once the lettuce section :D
 
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