Voters in Eaton County will decide the renewal of a longstanding millage for 911 services Tuesday.
The ballot proposal would continue funding a millage for the county’s current 911 emergency operation system. The millage has been in place since 1988 and would be renewed at 0.95 mills for the next five years. A millage is a property tax in which one “mill” equals a tax of $1 on every $1,000 of property tax value. For example, a home valued at $100,000 would owe $95 under this millage. However, because this is a renewal of the millage, property owners would see no increase in taxes.
The millage funds the “staffing, training, facilities, technology, and equipment needed to answer emergency calls and quickly send appropriate emergency services,” according to a press release from the county. Eaton County Central Dispatch services 29 local and state agencies.
911 Director Michael Armitage said in the release that this millage accounts for 91 percent of funding for the county’s 911 center.
According to the county, the millage supports the following services:
• Processing of emergency calls. The county says employees at Eaton County Central Dispatch answered more than 140,000 phone calls and dispatched more than 97,000 incidents last year.
• Next generation 911 (summer 2018) and text-to-911. The county says Central Dispatch answered 127 text-to-911 sessions last year.
• Quality service and pre-arrival instructions, including CPR over the phone. The county says Central Dispatch employees received a “quality assurance accuracy score” of 99.6 percent last year.
• Panic button in schools. A grant provided a panic button application to school district employees. Dispatchers are trained on the program.
• Computers and tablets for police, fire and EMS to “more efficiently share critical information.”
• Training dispatchers to comply with state standards.
• Emergency alerts and Smart911 .
• Maintaining address and location information to help first responders locate callers.
The county notes that this millage is different from the 911 phone surcharge that voters approved last year. Funding from that goes toward the radio system for first responders and cannot go toward the 911 center.