The Calhoun County 911 Board of Directors Thursday accepted the takeover of the Calhoun County portion of the 800 megahertz radio system currently operated by the Alabama Regional Communication System. The approval of the measure at a called meeting came less than an hour after the Calhoun County Commission approved the measure at its regular meeting.
“It says a lot about this process that we got together and accomplished this,” said Commissioner Tim Hodges after the commission approved the measure. “No one went off in separate directions.”
The groups’ two votes Thursday were the first of three steps that will set up the 911 board’s takeover of the system, which officials hope will be complete by October when the Regional Communication System’s fiscal year ends.
“This sets up the mechanism for takeover when the Alabama Regional Communication System votes for dissolution,” said the board’s attorney Jason Odom. “This gives the board the authority to sign documents in the process.”
That vote could come as early as Tuesday, when the Communication System’s Board of Directors will have a called meeting.
Only a few weeks ago the future of the system looked bleak. Earlier this year a bill that would have required residents in Calhoun and Talladega counties to vote on a property tax increase to fund a system upgrade, failed to move through Montgomery. The Alabama Regional Communication System Board of Directors said it would need to nearly double user fees in order to raise the close to $4 million projected to upgrade the system — an option that chairman and Talladega police Chief Alan Watson said some users couldn’t afford.
Federal funding set up the communication system in the 1990s for local officials to respond to emergencies that could have arisen from the chemical weapons stockpile the U.S. Army maintained in Anniston. Funding went away when the last of the weapons were destroyed in 2011.
The 911 board has scheduled a called meeting on May 29 to confer with members of the Alabama Regional Communication System to learn about the 800 MHz system and the takeover.
In other business, the commission:
— Approved the hiring of an information technology administrator at the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office.
— Approved contact with G Squared for $96,500 for mapping the northern portion of Calhoun County.
— Approved $8,000 allocation to Hobson City for equipment for a public park.
— Approved contracts with EMC Excavation Contractors and Teague Hauling and Demolition for $36,520 for removal of debris on public nuisance properties.
— Approved alcohol licenses for K and S Quick Stop on Roy Webb Road in Jacksonville and Express Mart on Old Birmingham Highway in Anniston.
— Renewed an agreement with The Nances Creek Community and Recreation Center to maintain land used as a public park.
— Approved a contract with Pleasant Valley Recreational Sports Association for $1,000 for materials and equipment for youth sports leagues.
— Declared public nuisance properties at 327 Rocky Hollow Road in Jacksonville and 2604 Simpson St. and 3646 Old Downing Mill Road in Anniston.
— Dismissed nuisance abatements at 1504 Willett St. and Grayton Road in Ohatchee.
Staff Writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.