911 center

The Madison County 911 Center has been housed in this old brick home off Wagener Lane since the last 1990s.

A new building is in the works for the county 911 department, along with a new public safety radio system. Both will be handled with funds from the recent renewal of the county one-cent sales tax.

County 911 director Brenan Baird gave a brief overview to county commissioners Monday via Zoom of his proposal for a new locale for the center and upgraded equipment. The commissioners tagged $905,000 in sales tax funds for the 911 improvements.

The project is in the preliminary stages and dollar amounts and contracts have yet to be approved for Baird’s proposals. The board will review documents he provided and the group will discuss the matter again at an upcoming meeting.

Baird suggests that the county construct a facility near the county’s EMS station 1 off Hwy. 98 near the sheriff’s office. The current office is in an old brick house not far from the courthouse square in Danielsville. There is no room to expand the center at its current location.

Baird said the move will help streamline emergency services in the county, such as cutting down on trips by deputies between the sheriff’s office and the current 911 building. He also said the location for the building means that parking won’t be an issue.

The radio system is approximately $950,000. The facility, which will be 2,400-to-2,800 square feet and include showers and room for personnel to sleep in times of emergency, will cost around $150,000, Baird said.

The 911 director said he has met with other public safety personnel, including the county’s 11 fire departments, and gotten their blessing on the new radio system.

Baird said the new system is in line with what surrounding counties are doing and will facilitate more communication in the area. He said that the project won’t take long to complete once it begins.

“If we start the project in July, it could be ready by Thanksgiving,” he said.

In a separate matter, the board agreed to move forward with a bond resolution that essentially gets the sales tax money approved in the fall into the county’s hands without waiting six years for all of the pennies to trickle in. The bond approved by the board has an interest rate at less than one percent. BOC chairman John Scarborough said this is a remarkably favorable rate for the county. The resolution allows the county to get $9 million of the anticipated collections up front so that projects approved by voters can proceed. The municipalities in the county, who will get $1.6 million to be divided among them, can also be a part of the bond resolution. The county and cities can also opt to earn interest on the funds if they choose to hold onto the money for up to three years instead of moving forward with projects in that time.

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