(WMC-TV) - Plans for a new, $23 million 911 call center in Shelby County are on indefinite hold.
According to Raymond Chiozza, who runs the Shelby County Emergency Communications District, money has always been a core issue.
"We provide the network so when you dial the three digits - a 9, a 1, and a 1 - you get on a network that routs you to the most appropriate dispatch center in the county," he said.
There are seven primary and two secondary dispatch centers spread across Shelby County. For the past 11 years, Chiozza has been working to consolidate into one big building.
"We've had estimates from $23 million to $32 million,' he said. "And that's just for the bricks and mortar. The big issue is the guts. The guts cost even more than the building."
But Chiozza said Thursday the joint combined call center is no longer a priority. Instead, 911 needs the money to keep up with the state's new network, Next Generation technology, and a mandatory countywide base map.
Thus, the district's portion of the call center funding has been prioritized.
"We're the ones that really took this funding because we have to do our core business of getting this to where at least we get the calls to the dispatch centers," he said. "When we get through this phase, we'll see what funds we have, and I'm sure our board will re-consider to see what we have to contribute to accomplish that."
911's new building was slated for land near Shelby Farms. Chiozza still hopes to make it a reality one day, but acknowledges that may be many years in the future.
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