Baraga County 911 Service Debate

Baraga County is considering switching 911 service providers.

The county now contracts with the Michigan State Police, who provide emergency dispatch service from the Negaunee Post.

This year, that service cost Baraga County $106,000, which is far more than the revenues produced by the 911 surcharge on cell phone bills.

County Emergency Coordinator Duane Smith looked for an alternative.

He says if the county were to switch providers to Iron County, there would be a potential savings of more than 75%, placing the cost well within the revenues collected for 911 service each year.

Once the State Police learned of the price difference, they lowered their offer to $62,000.

That’s also within the projected revenue for next year, but still more than triple Iron County’s offer.

Smith says there has been some concern from first responders in Spurr Township about the change, regardless of the price.

The 911 Board plans a meeting for first responders from across the county in December to discuss the matter before recommending a change.

By the way, that 911 Board is now really an official board — the County Commission adopted bylaws last night which will upgrade it from its previous status as an advisory committee.