9-1-1 levy on the ballot; called ‘a real bargain’


By Alberta Stojkovic - The Sentinel



MOUNT GILEAD — 9-1-1 Supervisor Keith Acker has had people tell him they’ve never needed 9-1-1, so they don’t see the need to support it.

His answer is that 9-1-1 is much like insurance. You may never need it, but when you need it, you really must have it.

Acker went on to list the importance of Morrow County residents passing the 9-1-1 levy for a $25 increase per year per improved parcel. He noted that an “improved parcel” is property with water, septic and a building or buildings such as home, garage and barn. A farm, for example, could have several parcels of land, but only one “improved parcel.”

If voters approve the levy, they will pay a total of $50 per improved parcel of land per year.

Some reasons Acker gave for the levy are:

Morrow County 9-1-1 must meet the state’s requirements for updating technology to provide faster and improved service.

There is a need to replace aging equipment. Some equipment is still in use from 1992 when 9-1-1 first started.

The cost to operate and provide 9-1-1 service has steadily increased over time.

The use of 9-1-1 has increased dramatically over the past several years. In a 5 year span there was an 18% increase in calls. Morrow County 9-1-1 staff answered over 12,000 calls last year. 95 percent of those calls were dialed from a cell phone, which requires special equipment to locate the caller to determine where emergency assistance is needed.

Commissioner Warren Davis pointed out another need for supporting it. That is to hire, train and maintain high quality staff. It is a challenge for 9-1-1 to keep valuable employees they train because they are not able to offer competitive wages and benefits.

Morrow County 9-1-1 continues to lose good employees they train, many of whom are local people from the county. They go to surrounding counties since Morrow County has the lowest pay for a 9-1-1 Center in the area.

Some services 9-1-1 Morrow County staff provides:

Morrow County 9-1-1 provides a direct link to emergency services in times of need. Morrow County 9-1-1 personnel answer 9-1-1 calls, and dispatch the five ambulances and the five fire departments that serve Morrow County.

The 9-1-1 service transfers all calls needing law enforcement to either the Morrow County Sheriff or the Ohio State Patrol. 9-1-1 is responsible in the notifications to the county Emergency Management Director as well as the County Coroner.

The service also manages and maintains the radio communications system that enables the county EMS and local fire departments to communicate in emergencies.

“For $50 a year our county residents will have a real bargain in 9-1-1 services,” said Commissioner, Tom Whiston who added that this increase comes more than 10 years after the last increase in 2007.

By Alberta Stojkovic

The Sentinel