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Hancock County Discusses Taxpayer Funding & Discounts of a $1.952 Million 9-1-1 Tower

Options Could Include Tax Increase thru Bonding

Emergency Management Coordinator Andy Buffington presented Hancock County with the latest proposal of a communications tower to be built near Duncan showing the cost estimate has gone up by $137,000 since last year.

Audio of Hancock County EMS Coordinator Andy Buffington

 

According to Buffington, Motorola is incentivizing the offer with $428,000 off the tower purchase if the county signs by December 16th.

Audio of Hancock County EMS Coordinator Andy Buffington

 

Despite many upcoming projects that the county is looking at, including an estimated $500,000 HVAC system, $400,000 in courthouse renovations and a $5.2 million secondary roads maintenance shop project, Buffington puts the county on notice that this communications tower is essential and requests a definitive answer on whether the county will move forward with the purchase.

Audio of Hancock County EMS Coordinator Andy Buffington

 

Hancock County’s 911 Service Board has spent nearly $80,000 on vehicle repeaters, which provide vital assistance to emergency personnel. However, there are still reports of reception issues in parts of the county.  Two other possible tower sites in Hancock County were quoted at the $2.3 million range.

Hancock County Supervisor Sis Greiman, Buffington and Engineer Jeremy Purvis discussed whether the $2 million from the American Rescue Plan Act could be used for the purchase, and the answer is still unclear.

Audio of Hancock County Supervisor Sis Greiman, EMS Coordinator Andy Buffington, and County Engineer Jeremy Purvis

 

The National Association of Counties (NACo) spells out the five primary ways that Recovery Funds can be spent, including assistance to those most negatively affected by the pandemic – households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel and hospitality (none of which directly mention HVAC systems, courthouse renovations, communications towers or building new maintenance facilities).  Counties may use Recovery Funds to provide assistance to households – with items such as rent, mortgage, or utility assistance – for economic harms experienced or costs incurred by the household prior to March 3, 2021.  With the current high inflation costs, increase of water and utility rates, covid-19/delta surges, and massive shortages, this could be a crucial time to help out taxpayers that fund government services.  According to the U.S. Treasury Department, “the COVID-19 public health crisis and resulting economic crisis have created a variety of challenges for families across the country.”

To read more about the uses and restrictions of the American Rescue Plan Act Recovery Funds, click on this link: https://www.naco.org/resources/featured/naco-recovery-fund-faqs

The Hancock County Board of Supervisors will meet again November 8th at 9:15am for further discussion on the tower project.

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