E-911 seeks ARPA funding for new back-up system

By Buck Collier, Special Correspondent
Posted 1/5/22

HERMANN — Gasconade County Enhanced-911 Central Communications is seeking a slice of the county’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to help fund development of a new redundant back-up …

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E-911 seeks ARPA funding for new back-up system

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HERMANN — Gasconade County Enhanced-911 Central Communications is seeking a slice of the county’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to help fund development of a new redundant back-up system with more capabilities.

If approved, the E-911 agency could receive $50,000 for what it says will be a $150,000 project. This is among the first requests for money from the $2.8-million in ARPA funds that will be allocated to Gasconade County. The county last year received the first half of the total amount; the remaining $1.4-million appropriation is expected to be received this spring.

The letter formally requesting the funds was forwarded to Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC), which will administer the county’s ARPA money, much as it did the CARES Act funding received by the county in 2020. After the applications are processed by MRPC and the proposed use weighed against the set of criteria adopted by the County Commission for distributing the money, the requests are forwarded to the Commission for a final decision.

E-911 Executive Director Lisa Schlottach said the proposal for the new system would include an emergency fund. “The project will involve phone, radio and CAD (Computer-Aided Dispatching) redundancy along with an emergency fund for unexpected staffing needs,” she said in the letter. “It would allow for Gasconade County E-911 to ensure uninterrupted public safety services to our community, its visitors and emergency responders in the event a disaster strikes at or near the city of Rosebud which critically impair the functions of the center,” she added.

Central Communications is located in Rosebud.

“Currently, our back-up facility is located at the Owensville EMA (Emergency Management Agency) Office and has limited, short-term capabilities,” Schlottach said. “In the event that 911 becomes critically impaired, 911 calls are automatically transferred to another PSAP (Public Service Answering Point),” she said, referring to the Osage County 911 program. “Administrative calls would be transferred to the Owensville EMA Office, located in the new Owensville Police Department building,” she said. “We have basic, limited radio communication ability and no CAD there. These capabilities are not meant to last an extended period of time and we are in need of a more stable contingency plan.

“Our goal is to deliver constant and consistent emergency communications services by being prepared and ready for a disaster situation,” she said.”We are asking for grant funding from the County allowing us to move forward with this project,” Schlottach said.

Some of the areas of consideration that could benefit from development of a new back-up system include additional radios, antennas, programming and tower work; additional CAD licensing and hardware; computer hardware and software; additional phone lines; training; and an emergency fund.

“As a critical link in the emergency services chain, it is vital that we ensure seamless 911 and emergency dispatching services,” Schlottach said.

Whether this request will be taken up soon is unclear. The Commission earlier agreed that the first $1.4-million allotment would be used to meet the requests of small businesses. But that might change depending on the number of requests from small businesses.

The county has until the end of 2024 to commit the use of the $2.8 million and until the end of 2026 to spend the money.

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