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Voters approve Cass County E9-1-1 millage renewal

CASSOPOLIS, Mich. – Voters approved the Cass County 9-1-1 millage renewal by a large margin.

More than 4,700 people voted in favor of the renewal and approximately 1,500 voted no on the renewal.

First responders in Cass County say it’s important the “E-911 Central Dispatch” proposal is renewed because without a central dispatch center, first responders couldn’t do their job.

Cass County’s Central Dispatch stays busy connecting people in need 24/7 to the dozens of first responders in the area who can help them.

“They’re invaluable. We couldn’t operate without them,” said Chief Doug Westrick. Westrick is the chief of police at the Ontwa Township/ Edwardsburg Police Department.

Chief Westrick says central dispatch plays an important role for his department.

“Any time our officers need to talk to and get information, they talk to the dispatch center,” said Westrick. “They also follow up with us, call people for us to get help that we need.”

He thinks voters in Cass County should vote yes for the “E-911 Central Dispatch” proposal. The proposal would offset the costs of running 9-1-1 services by continuing a 1/5($0.20) mil per $1,000 on all taxable property in the county. It would run for a period of four years beginning with December 1, 2018 and ending with December 1, 2022.

Cass County Sheriff Richard Behnke says that’s equivalent to $20 for a home valued at $100,000.

The millage would raise more than $411,000 in the first year, which covers 40% of the center’s budget.

“It is expensive to run a 24 hour 7 day a week service,” said Westrick.

Without the money, services that keep people safe could be cut.

“It would put more stress on our departments to come up with monies because it’s needed and the county can’t be without it,” said Westrick.

“We provide services that help first responders react quickly,” said Behnke. “Cutting those seconds down in getting emergency response helps save lives.”

Sheriff Behnke was confident the renewal would pass because it has been renewed four times.

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