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Campbell Approves 911 Fee Increase to Pay for New Emergency Communications System

In front of a packed Courthouse in Alexandria, the Campbell County Fiscal Court voted to approve a $25 increase to 911 fees to pay for a new radio communications system for the county’s emergency services Wednesday evening.

The issue was first discussed at the fiscal court's previous meeting in Newport. Kenton and Boone Counties are also increasing fees to pay for the regional system.

The increase is projected to pay for the $4.8 million contract with Motorola within five years, with any additional funds going towards received being used to upgrade and maintain other emergency equipments.

Commissioner Charlie Coleman raised concerns over the drastic increase, pointing out that in 10 years, the project could be paid for twice over. He asked that the court amend the proposal to say that the fee would not increase for the next 10 years, however, the amendment was not made.

Dale Edmondson, executive director of the Campbell County Consolidated Dispatch Center, was present to defend the 56 percent increase to the 911 fee.

“Sometimes things come along that you just have to pay for,” Edmondson said. “And this is that thing.”

Both Bellevue Police Chief Wayne Turner and Fort Thomas Fire Chief Mark Bailey were present to show support for the increase, discussing the importance of upgrading the system.

The current system, which was implemented decades ago, does not allow for departments and cities to communicate with each other effectively, and sometimes not at all.

“(It) comes down to not dropping the ball when it comes to saving someone, or getting there when you need to be there,” Commissioner Brian Painter said in favor of raising the fee.

Written by Carrie Crotzer, RCN contributor