Local News

911 Overhaul Could Cost Taxpayers $50 Million

Posted December 19, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Wake County's emergency services is in for an expensive overhaul, but some wonder if the changes are necessary. With the project carrying a price tag of at least $35 million, and possibly as much as $50 million, taxpayers want to know more.

Wake County Commissioners have already given initial approval to the purchase of a new radio system for all county emergency services, but, with county dollars stretched to the limit in other areas, some people are asking "Why now?"

Ben Silvers spent 32 years fighting fires in the Swift Creek fire district. The retired firefighter knows how important communications can be in an emergency, but Silvers says Wake County doesn't need the new radio system.

County 911 Director Paul Brierly says, in a big disaster, emergency personnel can't communicate effectively with current equipment.

County Commissioner Yevonne Brannon has been fighting the purchase.

A competitive bidding process has already started, and a county spokesman says it's not a matter of if the new radio system will be purchased, but for how much.

Photographer:Ed Wilson