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Marion County could have Enhanced 911 before the end of the year.
Marion County is looking to tie into the Central Kentucky 911 Network, which is based in Lexington, as a way to save costs on the implementation and upkeep of E911 service. David Lucas, the Lexington 911 director, said he hopes to have Marion County online in the third quarter of this year.
Lucas made his comments Feb. 19 during the first meeting of the Lebanon/Marion County E911 Advisory Committee. The committee includes local officials, the heads of various county emergency services, and citizens.
“This has been a long overdue project for Marion County,” Marion County Judge/Executive John G. Mattingly said at the opening of the Feb. 19 meeting.
During the meeting, Mattingly provided a handout with a history of the project so far. In the mid-1990s, Marion County voters opposed a referendum to add a telephone land line surcharge. In 2002, the county approached the City of Lebanon with a proposal, but disagreements over how to pay for the service prevented E911 from being implemented.
During the most recent push for E911, Mattingly noted that there has been a spirit of cooperation. Mattingly also said he is hopeful they would be able to implement E911 without imposing an additional monthly fee.
The county received a $120,000 grant in 2011 from the CMRS Board. Mattingly said $91,000 has been used toward mapping and addressing efforts, which must be completed before E911 can begin.
“We are at a point now where we are on the home stretch on this effort,” said Ron Householder of MapSync.
He said the county has completed roughly 85 percent of its addressing work. But Householder also cautioned that the “devil is in the details,” and the last piece may take longer than the first parts of the process.
That said, he added that Sharon Browning and Keith Brock are working to identify structures that are missing addresses and locations that will need to have a change of address.
Judge Mattingly said the fiscal court likely will need to approve an ordinance regarding addressing, and that will mean some people will end up with a new address.
“We're aware that we’ve got to make decisions that are going to impact some people,” he said.
He added that he hopes people will understand that any changes are necessary in order to implement E911.
Lucas explained that Windstream typically wants 95 percent agreement between phone numbers and addresses in order for a county to pass its geospatial audit. He added that Marion County probably won’t reach that threshold the first time it submits its information, but once that first audit is complete, the county will know exactly where it needs to fix its data.
Lucas added that Marion County will be the 13th county to join the Central Kentucky 911 Network. He said six more counties are looking to join the network next year, and he would like to have Marion County online before they begin work on the next six counties.
The network members pay a percentage of the fees to maintain E911 based on their database entries.
Judge Mattingly said Marion County will have approximately 7,000 entries. By comparison, Fayette County (the largest county in the network) has more than 168,000 entries.
Once Marion County meets the criteria to implement E911, it will be eligible to receive an estimated $116,000 annually that is currently going to the Kentucky State Police to handle 911 calls. Mattingly has said he is hopeful that will be enough to handle the additional operating and maintenance costs that will come with E911 service.
More work remains, but Mattingly spoke confidently about the progress to date and about moving forward.
“We do have a process and a map to follow,” he said.