County’s 911 fixes continue with fewer dollars

BROOKVILLE — Michael McNulty, a consultant who reviews the county’s 911 system and advises funding, recently reported that the county’s justification of wireline surcharges was approved.

The plan will be good for the next three years, he said. Each resident with a land-based telephone line pays $1.50 per month, and that money is used to upgrade and maintain the 911 phone system in the county.

McNulty said the plan was reviewed and approved by the Pennsylvania Utility Commission (PUC).

Furthermore, McNulty and his company, MCM, strives to obtain wireless 911 funding for area projects.
“MCM ensures all 911 funding revenue streams are fully maximized in an efficient, effective and responsible manner to assure passage and approval of funding requests,” he said.

Making sure those “revenue streams are fully maximized” is an extensive endeavor, he said. The format for review and approval changes each year, as counties always request more funds than are available.

Still, McNulty reported that MCM has obtained increasing money for the county each of the last three years: From $619,188 in 2009; to $751,791 in 2010; and finally, $902,717 in 2011.

The result is the county is able to pay more of its 911 costs using outside funding sources as opposed to money collected from taxpayers.

“Over this time, the county’s contribution from the general fund has decreased each year,” McNulty said. “Knowledge and planning are the keys to success.”

In fact, the majority of expenses related to the county’s 911 system generators, log-in recorders, computer-aided dispatch system, uninterruptible power supply, 911 phone system, staff salaries and benefits and shift supervisors are now paid using outside funding.

The result is the county has a better 911 service while spending less local money, McNulty said.

That result is the reason McNulty was hired as the 911 consultant to the county, commission Chairman Paul Corbin said.

“We’ve tried over the last eight years to do the best we can for the taxpayers of Jefferson County,” he said. “This is a prime example of that. This is certainly an instance where we do not know all of the issues, but we try to hire good directors and consultants, and let them work.”

Regarding the 911 system, Corbin said the commissioners’ goal is to “provide the best service at the most economical cost for that service,” which he said he believes is the case because of McNulty and MCM.