News : County, City Updating 911 Service Agreement
Adams County, NE USA, Nov, 2017 -- The Adams County Board of Supervisors approved an updated interlocal agreement with the city of Hastings for the handling of telephone surcharges that fund local 911 service.
Board members voted 7-0 during their regular meeting to approve the interlocal agreement for establishment of enhanced emergency telephone service. The Hastings City Council will also act on the agreement during an upcoming meeting.
Deputy County Attorney Dave Bergin, City Attorney Dave Ptak and Capt. Brian Hessler with the Hastings Police Department presented a draft of the agreement during the supervisors’ meeting.
Ptak and Hessler were joined at the meeting by city representatives Police Chief Pete Kortum, City Treasurer Roger Nash and City Administrator Joe Patterson.
Bergin said the purpose of the agreement is to unify the funds that are received for landlines and cell phone service and place them in one fund, administered by the city.
Funds collected from the surcharge pay for 911 telephone service in Adams County.
Ptak said the situation came to the forefront as a result of the state auditor having looked into how local 911 funds are handled.
The current interlocal agreement was established in 2004. With that agreement, the county receives landline money and city received cell phone money — each with a separate fund.
Because the 911 call center is in the Hastings Police Department, the city would purchase 911 equipment and bill the county. The county would use its 911 funds to pay its share to the city.
The surcharge is collected on monthly cell phones and landline bills. Funds can only be used on 911 expenses.
"As you can imagine with technology just exploding, we have to keep up to speed with what we need for our 911 equipment and call center," Ptak said.
A committee of county board members reviewed the agreement.
"Mr. Bergin has been easy to work with," Ptak said. "We’ve gone through it and I think we have a workable agreement."
Bergin said he discussed the agreement with Sheriff Gregg Magee, who, Bergin said, is in full agreement with the policy.
Supervisor Dale Curtis asked whether Charter Voice Over IP, now known as Spectrum, was included among phone companies that pay the surcharge.
Hessler listed several local telecommunications companies that do participate, but said he wasn’t sure about Charter/Spectrum.
"I don’t know that Charter is one of those and, if not, they should be," he said.
County Treasurer Melanie Curry and Joe Patterson both said Spectrum does not pay the surcharge.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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