911 millage to go before all county voters in primary
OGEMAW COUNTY — Voters countywide will vote on a 0.5-mill millage to fund operations and equipment replacement for 911 service in Ogemaw County.
Carol Adair, 911 central dispatch director, said the millage, if approved, would be levied on top of the current 59 cents per phone surcharge in Ogemaw County.
“We are retaining the surcharge and asking for the additional millage,” she said.
Adair added there is currently no 911 millage. She said the county has been allotting funds from its general fund to help with operational and equipment costs at Central Dispatch. Adair said central dispatch had an approximately $620,000 budget this year.
“Of that, we get approximately $200,000 from the county,” she said.
With the county budget shrinking in recent years, Adair said the millage would give the 911 department freedom from depending on the county for funds.
“The millage would provide us with operating costs,” she said. “We cannot rely on county funding to be stable. We’ve actually decreased our budget over the years — made cuts — due to the county budgets.”
Commissioner Pete Hennard said if the millage fails, central dispatch may have to change its operations, which currently includes two people manning the phones at all times, 24 hours a day in case of emergency calls from county residents.
“We never want our people to get a busy signal, or our phone to ring and ring and ring,” he said.
Adair said the department will be in need of many equipment upgrades in the near future.
“We’re looking at having to replace a whole onslaught of equipment down the road,” she said.
If the millage were approved, it would cost taxpayers 50 cents per every $1,000 of taxable value and would be levied for six years, starting in winter 2012. It is estimated to raise approximately $401,000 in its first year.