Express Staff Writer
If the Wood
River Valley’s fire and police departments can’t soon reach accord on
improving the valley’s 911 services, their differences could undermine a
November vote that is needed to fund the improvements within the next two
City Council joined a discussion Monday night on how best to upgrade
Blaine County’s 911 services.
improvements, Blaine County voters could be asked in November to approve a
$1-per-month phone tax, which can only be posed every two years. Ketchum
Mayor Ed Simon said he is concerned that voters might reject the measure
if the valley’s police and fire departments can’t agree.
debate was muddy Monday night because of the Ketchum Fire Department’s
and Ketchum Police Department’s differing opinions, public officials and
emergency services personnel were emphatic about the need for an improved
system in general.
County is one of the only counties in Idaho without emergency 911
services, which can help emergency personnel more easily locate a phone
is like an enhanced caller I.D. It immediately gives the dispatcher the
phone number, the billing name, and it also gives the physical address
where the phone is located," said Ketchum Communications Dispatcher
systems are available that can forward maps to laptop computers in
emergency vehicles, further speeding response times.
nothing I want more than E-911," said Ketchum Police Chief Cal
Nevland. "It’s going to save a life someday, and probably
said he will schedule a hearing specifically on this topic in the coming
months, but meanwhile, the waters remain muddy.
players, the police department favors technological consolidation of the
valley’s 911 services, while the fire department favors physical
consolidation at a county-wide facility. The cost of the two plans varies
said his plan, which upgrades Ketchum’s and Blaine County’s dispatch
centers, could be implemented for as little as $200,000, while Ketchum
Assistant Police Chief Greg Schwab said physical consolidation can occur
for $2.7 million.
In order to
achieve the funding either way, the $1-per-month phone tax would need to
be approved by a super majority of Blaine County voters.
if all parties involved can’t start to agree on a plan of action soon,
it could undermine efforts to gain voter approval this fall, putting off
potential funding for another two years.
the debate will continue.
wants E-911," said Councilman Baird Gourlay. "The question is,
do we go to a central dispatch or not?"