FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Presiding Commissioner Daniel K. Atwill
Boone County Commissioner
Phone: (573) 886-4305
Boone County Commission Approves Addition of 911/Emergency Management General Sales Tax
In its biweekly meeting this morning, the Boone County Commission voted to place a three-eighths cent sales tax on the April 2, ballot to provide funding for the construction of a new joint communications facility, hardware, software and personnel.
The County Commission took this action after receiving the (136 Page) report of the 911 Emergency Management Advisory Board which was chaired by Dr. Bart Wechsler. The Advisory Board consisted of nine citizens who, with their experience and expertise, were appointed to represent the interests of Boone County citizens. These Board members, along with key stakeholders, collaborated to assess the ability of the current system to meet the emergency and public safety needs of Boone County citizens. After weeks of reviewing reports, touring facilities and listening to presentations, the Board found the current system had not kept pace with emerging technology, Boone County’s growing population, additional duties required of personnel and an increased volume of calls due to the proliferation of cell phones. This has resulted in outdated technology, inadequate facilities and insufficient staffing levels, which is highly important to the safety of Boone County residents.
In response to these findings, the Advisory Board considered the options available before finalizing its report. The funds from a 3/8 cent sales tax would be used for the limited purposes of providing funding for a county-wide joint communications and dispatch center (911 Center), and for the funding of emergency management services. This would include the construction of a separate facility to house both entities that is rated to withstand a major storm event and is designed to accommodate the needs of Boone County emergency services in the event of a local catastrophe. The tax proceeds would also provide the funds to update information technology and telecommunication equipment that is currently outdated and inadequate, as well as the ability to establish a policy of upgrading that will maintain a high level of service for the community.
The organization will become a department of the Boone County Government and will be guided by an oversight advisory committee which will include representatives of the fire, police and emergency services users.