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911 millage to appear on March ballot

MENOMINEE — Funding emergency dispatch services will be on the ballot in Menominee County during the upcoming primary election March 10. The millage request would continue funding a county-wide enhanced 911 service.

The proposed millage would collect 0.625 mills (63 cents per $1,000 of taxable value) for a period of five years, 2020 to 2024, inclusive. If passed, $499,303 would be collected in the first year for operation of the 911 service.

According to Menominee County Administrator Jason Carviou, the millage will be mainly used to support the continued operation of Menominee County 911, or Menominee County Central Dispatch.

Menominee County 911 provides 24/7 emergency care by using updated data systems, providing pre-arrival emergency medical instruction, dispatching mutual fire aid, coordinating law enforcement response, and assisting in the critical incident management in the county.

The funding received through the proposed millage would assist the 911 center in maintaining technology used to provide life-saving services, covering the daily operating costs for the center and supporting future projects that will enhance emergency services throughout Menominee County.

“So in two parts — one for operation and some for needed upgrades,” Carviou said.

According to Carviou, the 911 services provided by Menominee County 911 are extremely beneficial to local first responders that work in the county, which in turn is beneficial to the locals that live in Menominee County.

He explained when first responders go out on a call, it’s important having dispatchers with knowledge of the local area, community and people.

“Ultimately, it’s a much better experience for first responders if dispatchers have personal knowledge of local area,” Carviou said.

Menominee County 911 used to be primarily funded by a $2.12 telephone surcharge. The surcharge funds are not funneled into Menominee from telephones from outside the area.

Carviou explained currently, the surcharge only covers a portion of the operating cost.

“We’ve seen our revenue from surcharges go down,” he said.

With fewer customers using land-lines and more residents moving to cell phones, Carviou noted the majority of operation costs for the 911 service have been reliant on the county’s general operating millage.

There are also many parcels in the county that are non-homesteaded properties that do not contribute to the funding of Menominee’s 911 center.

“Basically, we need to find a new way to fund 911,” Carviou said.

He added if the millage passes in March, the surcharge would remain the same.

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