SPLOST will give assistance to 9-1-1 center
If passed, the 2017 Newton County SPLOST would help with upgrades to the Covington-Newton County 9-1-1 Communications Center.
According to 911 Center Director Mike Smith, the $5 million that the center is due to receive will go toward radio infrastructure upgrades ($3 million) and radio equipment upgrades ($2 million). The upgrades would bring the center up to the national standard.
Smith told The Covington News the 9-1-1 Center was allocated only $5 million in 2005 SPLOST funds of the $10-$12 million needed at the time to build out the system. The funds from this year’s SPLOST would complete the upgrade and get the system where it needs to be. The center was not allocated any funds in the 2011 SPLOST.
Smith said the infrastructure upgrades include upgrading equipment at radio
tower sites utilized by fire, police and EMS to communicate with the 9-11 Center while on calls throughout the county, and replacing radio dispatch consoles that will need to be replaced this year.
According to Smith, there are “dead spots” around the county where radio communication is difficult or impossible. Smith said this is because the Board of Commissioners at that time placing stipulations on the system that did not allow the radio towers to be built where they were needed. He said this situation could prove dangerous for both public safety and citizens.
Smith said that equipment upgrades will involve replacing some portable and mobile radios used by first responders.
Smith said there are mobile radios in some emer- gency vehicles that are four years past the time of replacing and that the SPLOST funds would get them replaced.
Early voting for Newton County’s 2017 SPLOST starts Monday, Feb. 27. The election is March 21.