Bill to appropriate $2 million for staffing, consulting for 911 system eyed by council

A bill appropriating roughly $2 million “for support of initial staffing and consultant services” in the construction of a new countywide emergency communications system was up for an initial vote by the County Council Tuesday — after the Call went to press.

The bill would appropriate $2,004,679 to the Emergency Communications Commission to fund six employees’ salaries and benefits and for professional services in connection with the new communication system’s construction.

Roughly 68 percent of county voters last November supported Proposition E-911, an 0.1-percent sales tax that will pay for the construction and operation of the $100 million system, which includes an $80 million interoperable digital radio system, a $10 million upgrade to county 911 centers and a $10 million overhaul of the county’s emergency siren system.

The new sales tax — which has no sunset date — is expected to generate an ongoing revenue stream of roughly $16 million a year, according to the ECC. Officials expect Prop E-911 revenue to begin coming in this April.

The roughly $2 million initial appropriation would be used as follows, according to the ECC:

• $366,948 for six employees’ salaries.

• $137,731 for benefits.

• $1.5 million for consultant services for the radio, 911 and siren system construction.

The following emergency communications system employees would receive part of the combined $504,679 appropriated for initial salaries and benefits:

• Unknown director: $90,000 salary; $31,046 in benefits; $121,046 total.

• Michael Redman, police command coordinator: $70,253 salary; $23,762 in benefits; $94,015 total.

• Thomas McCormack, 911 coordinator: $66,507 salary; $22,824 in benefits; $89,331 total.

• Unknown technician/engineer: $60,000 salary; $22,697 in benefits; $82,697 total.

• Thomas Dresner, emergency management signal technician II: $42,174 salary; $20,825 in benefits; $62,999 total.

• Danny Ratteree, emergency management siren technician II: $38,014 salary; $16,577 in benefits; $54,591 total.

“This action was supported by an overwhelming majority of voters in St. Louis County during the November 2009 countywide election,” County Executive Charlie Dooley wrote in a Jan. 19 letter to councilmen.