Rincon City Council members will support the Effingham County commissioners’ plan to upgrade the south communications tower. But their check will wait until the work is done.
Council members unanimously approved a proposal to pitch in $80,000 to the $531,000 project to bring the south communications tower back online. Rincon’s public safety personnel have used the tower for their communications.
“It’s only going to help the fire department and the police department and the citizens,” said Rincon Fire Chief Corey Rahn.
Where the money will come from and when the city will deliver it to the county, however, were questions.
“I’m fine with supporting it and getting the job done,” said council member Scott Morgan, “but to approve it and not know where the money is coming from is the problem.”
City Manager Wesley Corbitt said the city has $2.5 million in general fund reserves and more than $450,000 combined in its police and fire special purpose local option sales tax accounts.
Corbitt said if the project isn’t completed until December, the city might use January SPLOST revenues. Estimates call for the work on the south tower to be completed in six to nine months.
Council members also approved having the police department use the E-911 system for its dispatch. Police Chief Phillip Scholl explained that the other municipality police departments and the Rincon Fire Department are using the E-911 system for dispatch. The Rincon Police Department uses the sheriff’s office dispatchers.
“The two largest agencies with the highest call volume are on the same channel,” Scholl said. “It will remove a lot of traffic from the sheriff’s office channel. It’s kind of a win-win for both sides. I think our call volume definitely warrants our own channel.”
Scholl said Effingham Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie has been a “giant supporter” of the Rincon department.
“We have a great working relationship,” he said.
The sheriff’s office call volume also has grown, Scholl said, leading to more radio traffic on the channels.
Rincon officers will be on the same channel with each other and there will be two channels for the department and another channel reserved for administration. Response time to calls now averages between two and three minutes, and Scholl said the response could be cut down to a minute or a minute and a half.
Rincon Fire Chief Corey Rahn said there are occasions when firefighters need police backup but it takes a couple of minutes for their call for assistance to go through.
“It’s a win-win for the city,” he said of the police department’s move to E-911 for dispatch.