Consolidating usually saves money, but not in this case

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jun 17, 2016 3:38 PM

(Carlisle) -- Many assume that if counties consolidate services with each other, they'll save money.

But in one county found out, that's not the case.

Cumberland County is set to upgrade its 911 system, and it has put together cost estimates for three different scenarios.

If it works with York or Lebanon counties, it would cost around $970,000.

But if it keeps its own system? It could save $110,000.

Brian Hamilton with Cumberland County says for one, their center is relatively new, so equipment and licensing costs for the upgrade are low.

"We don't have all that software and licensing expense to pay for in the new system, that will carry over. That means a lot. Had we had to pay for all that, the regional approach may have been a better cost effective solution," says Hamilton.

He adds: "And the connectivity costs between all the different 911 centers, that's where your reoccuring costs, on a monthly basis, really start adding up. Because it's distance involved, it's the type of connectivity you're using."

Hamilton says in the future, he hopes counties can create a regional 911 system, but he doesn't think enough are ready yet.

He says Cumberland County is set to make a final decision on its upgrade within the next month.

The upgrade is coming partly because of outdated technology, along with concerns about system delays when 911 calls are placed.

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