Muskegon County 911 surcharge proposal to update outdated communication, expand dispatch

MUSKEGON COUNTY — Seconds matter… that is the slogan for Muskegon County dispatch who is fighting to be able to keep their operation sustainable.

Last year, dispatch handled 170-thousand 911 calls which generated 260-thousand calls for public safety responders. With the sheer number of calls and only four dispatchers at any given point, many are put on hold. For those on the other side, that is not something they want to hear when they are potentially facing tragedy.

Some of the Muskegon County communication equipment is nearly 48 years old and can no longer be serviced. Coverage is also lacking in spots and their current status does not meet the national public safety standard.

If the proposal is passed, the 911 surcharge rate will potentially go up to 2 dollars and 75 cents per phone, per year. We are told it could be lowered depending on the funding needed at the start of 2019, but will not exceed that 2 dollar and 75 cent cap.

The funding would allow for everyday operations to expand and for radio towers to be upgraded so that police and fire response can also have better communication. Feedback has been generally positive, with many residents changing their minds after reading the specifics of the proposal and how it will help.

If the proposal does not pass next month, public safety responders and dispatch will continue to struggle and a new plan will have to be made in order to keep Muskegon County safe.

Voters will get to decide on November 6th.

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