By PJ Tracy
After a meeting with Motorola representatives last week, featuring Pike County Judge Dewight Mack, J.P. Johnny Plyler, Pike County Sheriff’s Department Dispatch Supervisor Tina Link and Pike County Emergency Coordinator Hesston Teel, the Pike County Quorum Court agreed to replace the existing 9-1-1 system in the county.
The total system will cost $121,304.32. Teel said the new system will eventually tie in all radios and phones for emergency responders and law enforcement officials.
The contract will include an amended timeframe of 10 years for support on the system. Also included is a computer aided dispatch (CAD) system for approximately $20,000. Plyler said the system will provide more detailed reports, and lessen the county’s liability in possible lawsuits. Additionally, the system will provide locations accurate to 100-300 feet.
“We don’t have that ability right now,” said Plyler, and Hesston confirmed the current system is accurate at best to 500 feet of location.
Plyler said that was important, because with the county’s current deal with AT&T, the county was expected to purchase exorbitant new software upgrades with each new contract.
Pike County will additionally save $5,000 per year with the new contract in maintenance agreements. Also, the county will be expected around year six to begin purchasing new hardware, which currently has a value of around $30,000.
“Between year six and year eight, get ready to purchase new hardware,” Plyler warned the other court members. However, he said that the price of new equipment could come down in that time frame. “But, we know our equipment with AT&T right now is out of date.”
“If the contact is right, at the end of ten years probably none of us will be sitting here, but that software maintenance agreement at $17,500 per year may alter in the cost of that again, but we’re not going to have to buy software again, like we will with AT&T that is costing us $200,000,” stated Plyler.
Teel told court members that all of the county’s radio equipment was Motorola, and that while they had been purchased from a different supplier, it was probable that all equipment could be obtained from the one carrier, with service technicians being routed out of Little Rock, as opposed to out of Texarkana with AT&T.
“For $50,000 savings over the life of this contract, plus software costs, it’s a tremendous savings,” said Plyler.
While the money will officially be appropriated at the next Quorum Court meeting, but Plyler said as much money out of the 9-1-1 system as possible will be utilized — almost $93,000 — while $30,000 will come out of the Pike County Sheriff’s Office Communications Fund and $18,000 out of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM).
Of the total, 15 percent will be obtained through a Rural Development Grant $21,196 — along with an enhanced 50% from the OEM funds for another $9,203.00.
Upon signing the contract, Pike County will owe $45,000; while the remaining balance of $96,304.42 will come from the 2018 budget after the system is installed after the turn of the year in approximately February or March (16-20 weeks after contract is signed).
Plyler said that money will be budgeted to be set back each year to pay for the new equipment, much like the county did for the newly purchased voting equipment.
“We got grants before for this, but that money has dried up, and I didn’t look far enough down the road,” Plyler admitted.
The Quorum Court also set budget meetings to work on the 2018 county budget — November 6 and 13, with the committee also set to meet with county officials on the 6th to discuss their office budget requests on November 6.