We're heading back to the polls pretty soon and no matter where you stand on the entire voting process, making your voice heard is important and your vote is especially important when it comes to making sure our local municipalities have the needed equipment to make sure the services they offer are the most efficient and effective. Quite often, especially when it comes to a request for money, there will be a lot of voices heard, and some of them get quite loud as to why people shouldn't vote to pay a little extra for essential services. Let's be honest, no one wants to pay more for anything, but...what if one of those essential services is desperately in need of modernizing on a number of levels, and it's literally a life or death matter we're talking about? Such is the case with the Muskegon Central Dispatch 911 Service.
The need is real and the costs of the old radio technology being used by the Central Dispatch Service are getting to the point that it's actually going to cost people in Muskegon County more to try and maintain the old system and repair the outdated equipment, some of which parts are no longer even available for in the long term. Combine that with the fact that 74 out of 83 counties in Michigan have already migrated to this newer more functional 800mhz band for communications between all departments, we can see pretty easily that Muskegon County is behind on this needed upgrade. It's said that the technology in place is the equivalent of "having a cassette tape in a world of streaming music" it's that far behind. This is also an essential upgrade to give the first responder services of Muskegon County the ability to talk to other teams of responders from around the state. Currently, if our county services need to communicate to ask for assistance from another agency, all they have is a cell phone. Imagine trying to place a phone call in the middle of a disaster? No thanks. Let's make sure that the bare essentials are covered for those who protect us.
The costs? Well, let's just explain it to ya. Right now, for 911 service anyone with a cell phone or land line is paying .42 cents a month. If approved, beginning in July of 2019 that rate will increase and can go no higher than $2.75 per month. It's an equal share for anyone who might need to dial 911. It also should be known that Muskegon Central Dispatch is a stand alone service. They are an independent authority who reports to the state and none of this money being asked for can be diverted to pay for anything else. It's not a ploy to get a bunch of money into one fund or another so something else can be paid for...this is essential life saving technology that has long been waiting for an upgrade.
I was invited down to Muskegon Central Dispatch by Shawn Grabinski and she asked Fire Chief Dave Glotzbach of Muskegon Township and Whitehall Chief of Police Roger Squires to join us to talk about the necessity and urgency for this surcharge ballot request. Take a listen for yourself and learn....
In a time where disaster can happen anywhere, and seems to more and more...this kind of technology is essential. It's never anything anyone is all fired up about having to pay a little more for essential services, but as a community our safety and the safety of those who are the front line for all of us is paramount. There's no bait and switch going on. There's no governmental "bloat". This is a bare bones essential need for the safety of all of us. You can read the complete list of nuts and bolts of this needed equipment in the link below. We have it set to take you directly to the info page at MCD-911's site. Learn what's needed and please, vote to help pass this for everyone in Muskegon County.