December 21, 2014

Arenac board adopts tentative E-911 service plan

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STANDISH — Arenac County's E-911 Department now has a tentative service district plan in place.

The Arenac County Board of Commissioners, at its Sept. 21 regular meeting, approved a resolution establishing an E-911 service district plan. Arenac County Central Dispatch Director Steve Wuelfing said the plan centers around the collection of 911 funds from devices that can connect to 911.

“It can accommodate any new technologies that could be developed in the future,” he said.

Wuelfing also said the department was at the point where it wanted to get a plan in place so it would be in compliance with state law.

“All counties that have countywide dispatch centers all have a 911 final plan or a local agreement,” Wuelfing said.

Commissioner Michael Snyder also said the resolution was designed to keep the county in line with the current state law.

“I guess it’s a question of bringing us up to speed,” Snyder said.

Wuelfing said state laws regarding 911 surcharges on telephones has been updated through the years. He said in the past, most of the E-911 telephone revenues were from landlines, but noted that landline use has significantly decreased in the past 10 years, while cell phone use has increased significantly. As a result, Wuelfing said, the law was amended to include any device that can contact 911.

“No one anticipated all these wireless devices and cell phones like we have today,” he said.

Wuelfing said the board’s approval of the tentative service district plan was the first step the county needed to take before a full service district plan could be established.

The next step, Wuelfing said, is for the board to establish a public hearing not less than 90 days from Sept. 21, when the resolution was adopted. After that, the county has to give public notice twice in a newspaper having circulation within the county.

Wuelfing said after that, County Clerk Ricky Rockwell would forward the tentative plan and the Board of Commissioners’ resolution to the clerks of each community within the county. From that point, each community has 45 days to file a notice if they want to be excluded from the permanent plan.

The final step, Wuelfing said, is that after the public hearing takes place, the county then adopts the tentative service plan as the final plan.

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