Fayetteville’s new 911 center gets approval to start operation

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All 911 calls from the area will be forwarded to the new Fayetteville facility. (http://media.defense.gov)

After weeks of discussion over which governing body will operate the planned $30 million center, the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners finally agreed to let the City of Fayetteville run the facility, but with a modified financial formula.

County commissioners proposed that funding percentages for the center’s operation should be based on the pro rata share of population between Fayetteville and Cumberland County. All parties approved a 64/36 population split with Fayetteville shouldering the bigger share.

“This is as close as it’s ever been,” commented city manager Doug Hewett, referring to the weeks-long back and forth between agencies. Details on percentages of operational expenses are recorded in a 16-page interlocal agreement pending approval of jurisdictions.

Moreover, a Fayetteville City Council subcommittee has again suggested that the cost of construction be based on calls for emergency services, not on the formula proposed by the county. An acceptable formula the council subcommittee favored will cost the city $7.8 million, with the county paying a share of $5.2 million.

“We could play hardball, but we can iron this out with the county,” said committee chairman Bobby Hurst.

Even with the combined financial efforts of local governing bodies, funds for construction remain tight. However, city and county officials are hopeful of receiving an additional $15 million from the State 911 Board of Directors.

While the structure of the center’s advisory governing board reflected some ambiguity, all agencies are in agreement on granting the final decision-making powers to city and county managers.

To secure partial construction funding, Fayetteville is required to submit a grant application to the state no later than Dec. 15. Two months ago, the city sent in an application which was rejected for not indicating which local government will serve as the center’s lead entity.