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Sunday, May 1, 2016

911 billed $71,000 for software service

Thursday, March 17, 2011

GREENCASTLE -- Putnam County 911 dispatch director Dave Costin received a shock recently when an abnormally large bill arrived from the dispatch center's software company.

At Tuesday's meeting of the Putnam County Council, Costin reported receiving a $71,000 bill for back charges on software maintenance.

He said the problem began about two years ago when the original software company sold out to another provider. When he did not receive periodic bills for maintenance and upkeep, Costin inquired about it several times. Receiving no response, he let the issue die.

When the provider was taken over again, the new company asked for a copy of the contract from Costin. After sending it, he received the $71,000 bill.

Costin said he and attorney Scott Hoff are reviewing the bill to make sure the charges are all accurate. If so, they will have to proceed with some sort of payment arrangement.

Council attorney Elizabeth South told Costin since it took two years to send the bill, the company should give a reasonable amount of time to receive payment.

No action was taken at Tuesday's meeting.

Costin also reported his department's electric bills have increased significantly in recent months. The electric company had been reading the incorrect meter until November.

With the bill now running about $1,000 a month and too little money budgeted, Costin said he would be asking for an additional appropriation of $10,000 in the coming months.

The beacon on the dispatch communication tower had to be replaced recently, and could cost between $4,000 and $5,000. Costin believes the problem was caused by a lightning strike, which would make the cost covered by insurance. However, the insurance company is disputing the claim.

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$10,000 a month for electricity? What is their average monthly usage?

-- Posted by exhoosier2 on Thu, Mar 17, 2011, at 6:47 AM
Response by Banner Graphic:
The figure originally in the story was incorrect. The bill is running approximately $1,000 per month, and a $10,000 additional appropriation will be requested.

Sounds like we almost got away with it. I appreciate the effort to save us money by hoping it would simply go away. Dave shouldve not sent them a copy the contract. That probably couldve bought us at least another year...

As for the electric bill: It must take a ton of juice to keep those flat screen TVs and extra computers powered up so the dispatchers can watch their sports and play games on the Internet. Maybe those personal electronically controlled workstations that go up and down with built in climate control are running up the bill as well.

Our dispatch center is nice and the staff do a great job but it seems like we are always throwing more and more money at it everyday. Maybe if we cut a few perks and extras our responders can respond on paved roads and not the dirt ones currenty found throughout the county.

-- Posted by SmallTownPolitics on Thu, Mar 17, 2011, at 7:38 AM

Hey,STP,don't like it,move to another county,just be sure you get your facts right and activate your brain cells to correspond with the facts..

-- Posted by kubotafan on Thu, Mar 17, 2011, at 8:46 AM

I totally agree with you SmallTown. We could have better roads but I guess some think vehicles are cheaper to replace than to fix the roads.

-- Posted by yachtsman on Thu, Mar 17, 2011, at 8:50 AM

Apparently, letting issues 'die' is not a fiscally responsible way of doing business. Most people, when confronted with a lack of communication from, say, their bank or credit card holder, don't think that the issue is dead. They continue to pursue the matter until the issue is 'resolved.' That's what government entities are paid to do; resolve issues, in the most fiscally responsible manner possible.

-- Posted by chazm_vet on Thu, Mar 17, 2011, at 3:05 PM

STP and Yachtsman...Not all money can go to fix roads. Monies are restricted in their use. Our dispatch center has the equipment that is necessary to keep them updated on bad weather and other emergency conditions that might exist throughout the county. Next time a tornado comes along, a bad winter storm, or flash flooding, you'll be glad your dispatch center has the equipment, staff and capabilities to warn ALL residents of impending danger. Cutting perks? Oh like the 12 hour shifts people work to keep you safe?

-- Posted by Mom2U4Now on Thu, Mar 17, 2011, at 4:39 PM

I must agree with Mom2. Most people dread going in to work for a normal eight hour shift, one where they are entitled to have a lunch break where they can leave and meet friends for a quick meal. How would you like to be stuck in a building for twelve hours, no fresh air, no lunch break, nothing but constant calls and radio traffic to keep you busy. Sure they get television but if they are busy they don't sit around and watch it. If they are busy they can't leave for lunch, they have to salvage whatever is kept in a locker and eat in between calls. Next time you want to argue whether or not the perks of a television and extra computer are worth it, ask what you are willing to pay for your safety. Because I can almost guarantee that you wouldn't volunteer to come in and sit for twelve hours in a box with no "perks".

-- Posted by WTFRUthinkin on Thu, Mar 17, 2011, at 8:37 PM

thank you some people do have respect for emergency workers and yes a dispatcher is an emergency worker maybe instead of worrying a bout whats in the dispatch center u should worry bout whats in ur home it probly costs the county more to run our emergency mangement facilites in a month than it does an average person to run there home in a year and y is that its because in order to keep the citezens of putnam county safe they go the extra mile so once again before you complain bout how much gets spent on county emergency mangement bills think about how your getting helped the next time your calling 911 and the response times and also think about how some emergency management facilites are still trying to make due with what they have to keep this county safe and safer thank you and that is all

-- Posted by countryboy72 on Thu, Mar 17, 2011, at 9:08 PM

Yes it may be a high stress job sometimes but I think technology has improved so much that it can't be that hard of a job. A logical thinking of the monies should be budgeting. Budgeting the funds would help improve this agonizing road problem.

-- Posted by yachtsman on Fri, Mar 18, 2011, at 8:46 AM

How did roads get in this topic? 2 different departments,2 completely different fund sources...check your next phone bill and see if there is a charge on it for roads and streets,duh!!!

-- Posted by kubotafan on Fri, Mar 18, 2011, at 3:02 PM

cb72: last time I called 911 for an emergency it took ten minutes to get through then they hung up on me( it was for a car accident on a nice dry day)yachtsman: the road funding all gets divided up by the state. the only county money that can go directly to county roads is a $50,000 emergency fund that doesn't get used.Not even when we ask the commissioners for it.

-- Posted by worrieddaddy on Fri, Mar 18, 2011, at 6:51 PM

worrieddaddy, chances are you were calling from a cell phone a long with 100 other people.

-- Posted by climberguy on Sat, Mar 19, 2011, at 8:50 PM

climberguy: I pay a 911 tax on my cell phone bill so I believe it shouldnt matter what phone I call from. Besides with all that expensive equipment I think they should be able to handle a hundred calls.

-- Posted by worrieddaddy on Sat, Mar 19, 2011, at 11:02 PM

It's not a matter of handling a 100 calls, worriedaddy. It's a matter of your cell phone finding a tower that is not busy and routing you to a call center. The dispatchers have nothing to do with your dropped calls.

-- Posted by WTFRUthinkin on Sat, Mar 19, 2011, at 11:21 PM

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