Grand Traverse 911 Asking Voters to Approve Surcharge Increase
Grand Traverse County dispatchers say they need more resources, money and upgrades too keep up with increasing call volumes.
GT 911 is asking voters to approve a surcharge increase to help them fund operations and maintenance.
Right now, people in the area pay $1.85 per month for their operations, and the surcharge would increase to $2.50 per phone, landline or VoIP per month if approved.
Central dispatch says calls have increased by 20 percent in the past nine years across the county, and as tourism increases, the peak season gets even busier for dispatchers.
“We want to generate enough revenue to support an additional work station or two so we can put even more dispatchers on staff for those events such as Cherry Festival,” said 911 director Jason Torrey. “We expect to deliver top quality service and we do, but we can’t do that without the support of the community.”
GT 911 would use the money for maintenance, system upgrades, and having a supervisor on the floor at all times.
“It’s going to provide for the additional workstations that I talked about, it’s going to make sure that we’re able to maintain and replace the equipment as needed,” said Torrey.
GT 911 responds to more than 140,000 calls, 43,000 of them are emergencies. The surcharge would help them staff more people on the floor at one time.
Torrey says it’s the right time to make these investments.
“We’re growing in population, our workforce, or our daytime population is increasing as a result of that, and then the tourism…we’re growing to a point now where i think it’s really important that we have a leadership role available to them at all times,” said Torrey.
If the surcharge passes, it will remain for at least six years.