County Council To Vote On 911 Project Planner Pact

November 26, 2018

County Council To Vote On 911 Project Planner Pact

A $20 million project to upgrade the Luzerne County 911 communication system from analog to digital might have a project manager in place soon.

County council will vote Tuesday whether to hire MCM Consulting Group to manage the upgrade project, which county officials say needs to be completed by Dec. 31, 2020 — the last day the manufacturer will provide support for the analog system currently used by 911 dispatchers and emergency responders throughout the county.

The proposed contract calls for the county to pay $380,357 to MCM for services that include project planning, grant writing and technical assistance.

The company submitted the only bid for the project, county 911 Executive Director Fred Rosencrans said at county council’s Nov. 13 meeting. The contract is back-loaded, with the majority of the payment not due till late next year, Rosencrans said.

The question remains as to what funds the county will use to pay for the contract.

Council Chairman Tim McGinley on Sunday said some council members have suggested including the cost of the contract in the long-term borrowing through which the county will likely fund the communication system upgrade.

However, McGinley said he would prefer to use funds available in the county budget.

“I would like to pay for it out of monies that we currently have,” McGinley said. “My thought is, if we don’t have to borrow it, consider the alternatives.”

According to materials included with the agenda for Tuesday’s council meeting, MCM’s goal “is to provide a comprehensive and complete plan to assist in the design of the system(s) while working with the involved vendors to acquire the equipment and services needed to complete the system. The county will have all final equipment decisions, and the vendors selected to provide these systems will be decided upon by the county.”

At a work session following Tuesday’s voting session, council will discuss a proposed resolution submitted by Councilwoman Linda McClosky Houck, that would require financial officers in all county departments to report to the county’s budget and finance division.

At recent council meetings, Houck has said it’s important for all county financial operations to be under central control. That is what the framers of the county charter envisaged when abolishing elected row offices, each with it own financial operation, Houck said, noting that such offices can become “fiefdoms.”

Council will also hold a work session regarding the proposed 2019 budget for the county courts division. Expenditures in the division are projected to decline by 3.3 percent, from about $2.63 million to about $2.43 million, compared to this year.

Tuesday’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the county courthouse on North River Street in Wilkes-Barre.

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