On Election Day, Delaware County voters will have the option to pass a renewal and increase levy for 911 services and emergency communications in the county.
The 911 levy has existed since 1989 in order to fund emergency communications services, according to the county. The ballot measure seeks to renew the five-year, 0.63-mill levy plus add 0.05 mill for a new total of 0.68 mill.
Property owners currently pay $17.63 per $100,000 of market value per year for the existing levy, and the passage of the levy would increase the tax to $19.38 per $100,000 annually.
According to the Delaware County Auditor’s Office, the levy would generate $4.5 million per year, and collection would begin in 2022 after the current levy expires at the end of 2021.
The county reported that in 2019, the Delaware County Emergency Communications 911 Center processed 40,794 emergency 911 calls and 65,956 non-emergency, administrative calls. The center also electronically handled a total of 3,151 alarm calls and received 58 “text to 911” calls.
The county reported the 911 center also runs the communications system for first responders in Delaware County, as well as maintains the portable and mobile radios used by these forces. In 2019, this radio system processed 6,659,414 “request to communicate” interactions from first responders, according to Delaware County.
Delaware County Emergency Communications Director Patrick Brandt said the levy will allow the department to replace equipment and maintain services.
“We have considered multiple scenarios as we aim to maintain the level of service that our residents and visitors have come to expect,” Brandt said. “This modest increase allows us to replace equipment as needed, but also accounts for a softer economy due to COVID-19.”
Delaware County Commissioner Gary Merrell said the levy is an opportunity for voters to “give their stamp of approval and appreciation for the professionalism displayed routinely by our 911 management and staff.”
“Those of us who have had occasion to need their services also know how fortunate we are to have such quality people serving us,” Merrell said. “Being privileged to serve on the 911 board, I have seen firsthand the quality of services provided by our 911 center. The board is made up of representatives from law enforcement, fire departments, cities and emergency services. Their expertise also is important in providing the quality of services we all expect and appreciate.”