LOCK HAVEN - The Clinton County commissioners approved a $610,000 bill Thursday, representing part of the cost of a new narrowband emergency communications system expected to cost up to $1.5 million.
The software-hardware combination provided by Transcore and designed by MCM Consulting, of Hummelstown, means some changes for many of the players in over-the-air communications, especially the county Department of Emergency Services.
The combination of the project with a plan to move the 911 center to a new location would seem problematic, but Commissioner Jeff Snyder said local emergency and maintenance personnel, along with the contractors, are aware of the situation and are working hard to make for a smooth transition.
County officials also plan to take the 911 center out of the basement at Susque-View Inc., the county-owned nursing home, and place it in the former Flemington Elementary School, which they purchased from Keystone Central School District several months ago.
The narrowband transfer must be finished by December. The 911 center project is expected to take up to 18 months.
Snyder and fellow Commissioners Joel Long and Pete Smeltz expressed confidence the communications center will be able to meet that deadline.
"The new equipment will still have to go in the basement of Susque-View, unfortunately," Snyder said, "but knowing where we are going is helpful, because as we install things on a temporary basis, we can anticipate moving."
Snyder said the actual transfer of the physical plant will occur in stages, and "at no time will the county be in jeopardy of not having 911 coverage.
The narrowband work, which has cost the county about $948,000 to date, comes about as a result of a mandate from the Federal Communications Commission.