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January 24, 2013

County takes out line of credit to pay bills

MILLEDGEVILLE — In the year's second Baldwin County Commissioners meeting, the board approved a resolution imposing a $1.50 per month per wireless connection charge for Phase II 911 enhanced service.

Capt. Lynnette LaRocque, representing the Baldwin County Law Enforcement Center's 911 facility, discussed the change from $1.

“Since we are Phase II compliant, we are allowed by state law to change the cell phone wireless fee,” LaRocque said.

LaRocque said the 911 center staff can see the caller's location on a physical map within 50 feet with the enhancement capabilities.

“It's a very big enhancement we have used since December, and it has come in handy,” LaRocque said.

Henry Craig, District 4, said he was impressed with the 911 center's capabilities.

“It's all automated and allows instantaneous, correct navigation to the person that needs it. I can't imagine any technology being better than what you have,” Craig said.

County Manager Ralph McMullen added that the county has supplemented the fees over the years because the old fees where not enough. He said the increase will help close the gap.

LaRocque explained that cell phones fees are collected based on billing address. Students with an Atlanta address get the 911 enhanced service, while the fees don't come to Baldwin County.

More than 60 percent of emergency calls come via cell phone.

Currently, Verizon is compliant. AT&T and T-Mobile have been notified and have six months, as of last September, to get up to par with Phase II.

The commission also selected a Tax Anticipation Note proposal from Century Bank for a $7 million line of credit at a 2.14 percent interest rate.

An estimated county cost of $102,661 is required. Craig wants the county to stop being addicted to borrowing.

“We have to stop the process of borrowing money to do business,” Craig said.

The county needs around $1 million per month to operate and must use the note to function until tax revenues come in toward the end of the fiscal year.

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