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Miller County facing loss of funding if 911 centers remain unconsolidated

In 2019, the Arkansas Public Safety Act was established. The state’s 911 board was created with...
In 2019, the Arkansas Public Safety Act was established. The state’s 911 board was created with the aim to streamline the number of agencies to receive funding from the state for 911 centers.(WAVE 3 News)
Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 12:50 PM CDT
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MILLER COUNTY, Ark. (KSLA) - Over the past three years the Miller County 911 system has been upgraded to ‘next-generation’ systems - however, due to streamlining, funding from the state could dry up.

In 2019, the Arkansas Public Safety Act was established. The state’s 911 board was created with the aim to streamline the number of agencies to receive funding from the state for 911 centers.

Miller County and the City of Texarkana, Arkansas could be impacted by this act. As of 2022, the state of Arkansas is providing funding for 100 P-SAPs or 911 centers - including Miller County.

However, the act says the number of centers receiving funding should be down to 77.

“Every county under 150,000 population has been allotted one funded 911 center,” said the board’s executive director, C.J. Engels.

Miller County has two centers: one at the county jail and one in Texarkana, Arkansas. Another is at the Bi-State Justice Center.

Engels said one of the centers could lose funding if a plan to merge is not made.

“All that is a local decision, local planning,” Engels said. “The board is not forcing in one direction how they are to consolidate.”

Miller County Judge Cathy Harrison said consolidating service is not feasible at this time.

“For Miller County to join the cog at Bi-State, it would cost an additional $700,000 plus a year,” Judge Harrison said. “Currently, it cost Miller County with our PSAP a little over $200,000 a year.”

Miller County and Texarkana, Arkansas leaders have until January 2023 to make a decision.

“If the 911 committee says we have to join the Bi-State, then Miller County would not have an option but to lose our funds and be a stand-alone facility,” Judge Harrison said.

The Arkansas 911 board is scheduled to visit this issue at its next board meeting later this month.

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