Study could further 911 consolidation

The Warren County Commissioners approved a number of agreements Wednesday morning including a regional shared services assessment and paving a Hickory Street parking lot.

MCM Consulting will conduct a nine-county assessment of 911 centers as part of a regional shared services assessment to save the Commonwealth money.

Commissioner Chairman Stephen Vanco said the contract will last for 12 months and will cost $30,000. It will be paid for by the Commonwealth.

“What this is going to do, my understanding of it is, they’re going to look for additional efficiencies in the whole region,” Commissioner John Eggleston said. “We know the state is focused on consolidation and regionalization as a way of saving money and I think that’s the purpose here. They are going to try to see what additional savings there are.”

Commissioner John Bortz said the assessment is a continuance of the, “convergence of the efficiencies of technology”.

“Is this really county business?” Bortz asked. “With the advancements of technology, re-addressing and so and so forth, a 911 call is a 911 call… at what point does the state say, ‘Hey, listen we’ll just take care of it.'”

Lack of funding from the state is becoming an increasing burden on the local budget, said Eggleston.

“I think the state, rather than trying to figure out how to raise more wireless money, is trying to figure out how to lower the cost and there’s nothing wrong with that. Basically the idea is for our smaller counties that don’t handle 5,000 calls a day, rather much less than that; maybe there’s a way to put 10 small counties together in a way that the calls get answered and there’s not interruption of service, but those costs are reduced,” he said.

The commissioners also approved an $11,730 contract with Huber Blacktop to pave and repaint the Hickory Street parking lot.

“Fifty percent of this will be covered by a grant from CCAP (County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania) which has been approved,” said Vanco.

“This is a project we’ve needed to do for a year or so; it’s pretty deteriorated,” said Eggleston. “It’s one of those things where if you own the property you’ve got to take care of it.”

The board approved an agreement with the Cambria County Detention Center to house the 16-year-old boy from Johnstown facing arson-related charges in the fire at Miracle Mountain Ranch. The contract will cost $225 a day and is for evaluation, not a permanent placement.