State funds available to update emergency communications center

·2 min read

Aug. 14—EAU CLAIRE — Eau Claire County's emergency communication center is eligible to receive state funding for the updated and advanced NextGeneration 911 system.

According to the Wisconsin Counties Association, updating Wisconsin's 911 emergency response system has been a priority since the early 2000s.

"In the 2017-19 state budget, $6.7 million was reallocated from the Police and Fire Protection Fund for the creation of an emergency services IP network (ESInet), which will allow Wisconsin to move toward a long overdue upgrade for 911 by serving as the backbone to which local Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) can connect to utilize Next Generation 911 (NG 911) technology," the grant document stated.

Created in the 2019-2022 legislative session, Wisconsin Act 26 allowed the Department of Military Affairs to create and establish rules for the state-funded PSAP update program.

PSAP funding assists in the training of telecommunicators, financing equipment or software expenses, and in encouraging the consolidation of other communication centers in the area.

"The cost to upgrade local PSAP equipment can be cost prohibitive for many counties.

Therefore, a state-funded grant program is essential in supporting PSAPs and their need to upgrade technologies," the document stated.

The funding is available to one communication center per county. The Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors must vote to designate the Eau Claire Emergency Communications Center as the Public Safety Answering Point to receive the funding.

Up to $500,000 could be awarded to the county if the grant is accepted.

This information will be presented in a first reading to the board at its meeting on Tuesday.

Other business

County board members may be given the opportunity to participate in county meetings remotely.

A resolution, submitted by Supervisors Katherine Schneider and Stella Pagonis, has been submitted to allow members in limited situations to participate in meeting virtually based on illness or disability.

"These changes allow those who have extenuating circumstances to serve on the board and committees and align with the county's commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity," the fact sheet stated.

The board will vote on this resolution at its meeting on Tuesday.

Also at the meeting on Tuesday, the board will hear reports regarding insight on past and future financial standings.

Sean Lentz, a representative from Ehlers Public Finance Advisors will provide the board with information session about the county's debt and levy limits.

The board will also hear results of the 2021 audit from Brock Geyen, of CliftonLarsonAllen.