911 Center gets new phone system equipment

By Peggy Mackenzie
Greenbrier County 911 Director Al Whitaker presented two bids for a new 911 phone system contract to the Greenbrier County commission Wednesday night, which, at a previous meeting, he had said was outdated. The way technology works, Whitaker explained, is it’s always moving ahead and it’s always going to be more expensive.
That said, he recommended the commission approve funding the most expensive option he had to present. Of the two companies, Frontier and Micra Automations, Frontier offered two options: A shielded version and a buy-out version of the system. At $531,264, the shielded option was the more expensive, but offered a way to recoup up to $5,000 if and when the phone system technology became outdated or was no longer useful and have the system dismantled.
The buy-out version did not have that versatility option, and after five years, the county would own the equipment, whether or not it was still technically viable. Whitaker said Micra Automations had not a single 911 center installation in the entire U.S. The only one to their credit was in Sweden. “While less expensive, there are too many unknowns here,” he said.
Commissioner Woody Hanna had legal concerns at choosing the most expensive option and suggested county attorney, Patrick Via, look into the bidding process rulings. Commissioner Lowell Rose assured him that bids were phrased to include the option of choosing whichever bid was presented and not just the lowest one. The commission approved the shielded option contract with Frontier pending a review of contract by the county attorney.
In other business:
• A presentation by William Hawkins, president of WV Your Way, a comprehensive online search engine, which he said would take the guesswork out of locating anything in a given area. He demonstrated to the commissioners, using a projection screen and Monroe County, as an example. He said the program uses up to three key words, chosen by the product provider, a 75-word description of the located facility, includes websites, contact information and a photo of the location sought. The service is accurate, maintained and up-to-date. Hawkins included several letters from satisfied customers, including Monroe County.
Although the commissioners agreed the service was a useful resource, the cost, at $99,938, in Commission President Mike McClung’s words, was “a little pricey.”
Rose thanked Hawkins for his presentation, stating he appreciated the value offered, but the cost is not budgeted.
• Rainelle Mayor Andie Pendleton read a proclamation for Women on Wellness Day, to be held on Oct. 24 in Rupert, chosen as Community Wellness Center for the county. Women, as health care providers, Pendleton said, are the ones who most often take on the responsibility for family health and the event is a celebration of women in that role.