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Raleigh 911

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Plans for Wake County's new 911 communications center do not include the city of Raleigh.
RALEIGH — Wake County's plans for a new 911 center haveleft Raleigh's ears ringing.

When you need help in an emergency, you call 911. In Wake County,all of those calls go to the same building. But, that'sabout to change and not everyone is happy about it.

Wake County is building its own 911 center. Construction companies willstart bidding on the project January 29. It's on the CountyCommission's fast track. Commissioners voted 4 to 3 to build the newcenter.

Proponents say that they are preparing for the the county's future boom.The opposition says that the center is a waste of money, missing onemajor thing -- the city of Raleigh.

If you live in Wake County and you call 911, it is answered in the Raleigh911 center, on the bottom floor of the Municipal Building. Wake Countydispatchers sit right next to Raleigh dispatchers.

But, not for long -- county leaders are moving forward on a new county 911communications center to be built off Poole Road. And so far, the city hasnot signed on.

Raleigh Mayor Tom Fetzer calls the plan "utternonsense." Fetzer is leading a unanimousCity Council against the county 911 center -- a new building that they arecalling unneeded and too costly.

None of the proponents of this new building were available to comment oncamera. But County Commissioner Stewart Adcock told WRAL by phonethat the commission plans to move forward -- with or without Raleigh.

"I want a county-wide system. If the city wants to come on board -- good.If not, we're still moving forward with a new center."

Mayor Fetzer says that the commissioners are bound and determined to buildthe new center, but it is a project for which he can find nojustification.

If Raleigh does not agree to be included in the new building, there arequestions about dispatching, transferring calls, andcity-county cooperation in a major emergency. County Commissioner YevonneBrannon says that the current center has several more useful years ahead,and now is not the time to invest in a new center.

Speaking of money, no one knows exactly how much the new center will cost.Estimates range from $4.5 million to as high as $12 million. The biddingstarts in three weeks.

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