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Can you hear me now?


Emergency personnel to stick with cell phones after millage goes down



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August 15, 2007
ST.CLAIR COUNTY —

All plans for phase four of the county's 800 megahertz radio system upgrade has been put on hold indefinitely after the .5 mills proposal to fund it was soundly defeated at the polls last week.

The final tally was 10,195 'no' to 3,991 'yes' votes.

Administrator Shaun Groden said there are no plans to hike the landline surcharge in response to the defeat.

"The community did not accept the millage, nor will they accept surcharge increases," Groden said of the conclusions he and the board of commissioners have drawn.

Surcharges would have been eliminated with the millage's passage.

Emergency responders in the western part of the county say they're disappointed at voters' response, but will have to manage as best as they can.

"They're leaving everybody in a lurch for $27 a year," Capac Police Chief Raymond Hawks said, referring to what the average homeowner would have been levied.

"We're going to have to rely on our cell phones but they can go down for days at a time."

Phase four called for the construction of a radio tower north of Capac to help eliminate 'dead' spots, that is, where no radio signal from a tower can be accessed.

Mussey Twp. Fire Chief Don Standel said his department knows where to expect problems. In Lynn Twp., radio signals are especially sparse and firefighters often can't connect with central dispatch. When assisting Lapeer County fire departments, radio communication is impossible since Lapeer is already utilizing the 800 megahertz system.

"It's a pretty complex issue," Standel said of the system and millage vote.

"People know that when they dial 9-1-1, we show up. They might not realize everything that's involved."

While it appeared that communities like Capac, Yale and Memphis would benefit most from the new tower and tax, election results show little difference between precincts in the eastern and western part of the county.

A smaller percentage of voters in both Berlin and Lynn townships supported the millage than voters in the city of Port Huron.(See accompanying 'millage results' box).

Groden said the only apparent funding source, on the horizon, would be a Homeland Security grant.

"We will begin new dialogue with our various legislators about the prospects of securing funds," Groden said.

Assistant Editor
Castle Creek
Village Barn
06 - 24 - 17
03:05
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