CENTRAL POINT, Ore. — Ballot measure 15-186 seeks to upgrade and replace the emergency communications system used for communication between the Emergency Communication of Southern Oregon dispatch center and first responders throughout Jackson County.
If approved, the county will authorize a bond for $28,000,000 — payable from taxes on property. The county estimates that property owners would pay $9 per $100,000.
"It would be 9 cents per $1,000. On a $200,000 home, for example, it would be $18 a year," says Margie Moulin, Director of Emergency Communications of Southern Oregon (ECSO).
Parts of the current radio system are nearly 30 years old. The manager of Day Wireless Systems, the company that maintains the radio system, says that one of the main problems is that the first responders aren't always able to hear their radios clearly.
"If a citizen in rural parts of the county call dispatch and say there's a fire or they need medical response they may be able to reach dispatch . . . but because of some of the gaps in coverage, dispatch may not be able to speak to the firefighters or officers in the field. That is a real concern," says manager Calvin Emigh.
He says if the radio system isn't upgraded now, the system will continue to get worse as it gets older. He hopes people will be on board with the upgrades on the upcoming ballot.