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Muskegon County voters to decide phone surcharge increase for 911

Jon Mills/WZZM-TV • Aug 23, 2018 at 4:00 PM

In Muskegon County, any device with the ability to call 911 is assessed a monthly 42-cent surcharge. In November, registered voters will decide if they want to approve a hike to that surcharge.

The proposal voters will decide would raise the monthly surcharge to $2.75. If approved, the higher surcharge would pay for $25 million in improvements to the emergency communication system in the county.

Police chiefs and fire chiefs from across the county gathered in Muskegon on Wednesday, Aug. 22, to hear more information on the ballot request.

"We are just trying to get up to the technology that is the standard for today," Whitehall Police Chief Roger Squiers said.

The new funds would allow the county to move from an analog communication system to one that operates on an 800 MHz digital system. In Michigan, 74 out of 83 counties have already made that move.

The higher surcharge would pay for hardware, software and communication infrastructure. Much of the new equipment and technology would be in emergency vehicles.

"We are going to buy mobile radios, portable radios for all of our responders in Muskegon County," Muskegon Central Dispatch Executive Director Shawn Grabinski said.

If approved, collections could start next July 1.

"This isn't a want, it's a need," Muskegon Township Fire Chief Dave Glotzbach said.

See more information on the Muskegon Central Dispatch 911 surcharge here.

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