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Commissioners hear about upgrades to 9-1-1

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Approve 9-1-1 Communications Budget effective May 1-April 30, 2021

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HENDERSON COUNTY–Henderson County Commissioners approved the Henderson County 9-1-1 Communications Budget for Fiscal Year May 1, 2020 through April 30, 2021.  Director Mark Brown presented the budget, detailing improvements made to the system within the past year.
Brown told the court that the district had successfully replaced all the 9-1-1 technical equipment within the last year, upgrading the entire network. The new system moves the operating system to a Microsoft supported system. The second benefit Brown mentioned is a major improvement to the way the system handles text messages, now allowing 9-1-1 operators the ability to not only respond to text messages but to initiate them.
The most important benefit, Brown told the court, was the integration with another service provider to give more accurate location for wireless callers. Previously, the 9-1-1 operator would see a grid where the caller was located, involving miles of area. “This system gives a caller’s location within five feet. We actually tested it walking around the Athens Police Department and we could actually see the person move around the building,” Brown said. He added that it would be helpful locating boaters in distress who may not know where they are which happened earlier this year.
Brown noted that revenues which were mainly generated from wireline services are forecasted down and they have to rely on wireless and VOIP providers but that the budget is sufficient since they are mainly maintaining equipment now.
The court also approved a resolution of support and an application for the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) CARES Act Sub Grant for Elections Administration. The grant is to assist election officials with increased requirements from the CDC and is expected to be awarded in time for the July runoff elections. The amount is $79,302.30 with a 20% match required.
In other business, commissioners:
• set public hearings to set a 30 MPH speed limit on County Roads 4404 and 4405 for June 30 at 9:15 a.m. and 9:20 a.m. respectively.
• approved plats 116R, 125R and 928R in the Pinnacle Club subdivision in Pct. 4.
• approved payment of bills totaling $425,733.46.