Delaware County will secure the equipment necessary to provide a backup location in Orange Township for 911 call center operations.

Delaware County will secure the equipment necessary to provide a backup location in Orange Township for 911 call center operations.

Commissioners on Feb. 21 approved the addition of $117,173 to the $656,425 contract between the county and Windstream Communications, a equipment dealer in Columbus. Funding for the equipment comes from the five-year, 0.45-mill operating levy for county 911 services that expires at the end of the year and from cell phone surcharges allocated by the state.

A backup location for 911 communications became necessary after the county switched to a new phone system, Frontier Communications.

The 911 system's dispatchers and equipment currently are in a county building at 10 Court St., said emergency communications director Bob Greenlaw.

The Court Street location probably would take a couple of weeks to replace if it went out of action, Greenlaw said.

With the second site in Orange, operations would continue virtually uninterrupted.

The Court Street center could be shut down by "something simple," he said, such as a broken pipe.

As a matter of routine, equipment at the Orange Township location at 7700 Gooding Blvd. will be operating but unmanned, Greenlaw said. That would ensure its rapid use if it is needed.

The county made an agreement with the township to use the space in the lower part of the building.

"It gives us a place to go if this place becomes uninhabitable," Greenlaw said. The Orange Township facility will get six laptops to enable remote connection.

"It gives us a lot of flexibility," Greenlaw said.

Greenlaw said the entire backup location project is budgeted at $160,000. Besides phone lines, the Orange facility will need furniture, a radio link, and a recording system for calls. Greenlaw said he still needs quotes for the additional equipment. He estimated that the radio link would cost about $10,000 and the recording system would cost about $20,000.

Greenlaw said he hopes that the Orange facility will be ready in about 90 days.

The county is asking for a renewal of the 911 levy on the May ballot. Though the backup project is being paid for with funds from the current levy, Greenlaw said the renewal is necessary for ongoing operations such as salaries and maintenance.

Also Feb. 21, commissioners approved a $5,000 grant for Main Street Delaware, a nonprofit downtown historic preservation and revitalization organization.

Commissioner Ken O'Brien opposed the grant, telling ThisWeek that he's against giving away money that the county might need in the future. "When we had lots and lots of money that may have been an appropriate thing," he said. O'Brien said that Main Street Delaware should be a self-sustaining organization.

He also said the organization's affiliate organization, Heritage Ohio, wants equal distribution of sales tax across the state. "I'm not in support of that," he said.

Jeff Siegler, director of revitalization for Heritage Ohio, on Feb. 25 said he called O'Brien to tell him Heritage Ohio has not called for any statewide distribution of sales tax.

Main Street Delaware president Jesse Carter said the $5,000 grant will go toward public programs including First Fridays, farmers' markets, and the Christmas parade.

"We are extremely grateful for the county's support," Carter said.

Carter said Main Street Delaware has seen a decline in small donations.