The Longboat Key Town Commission will direct town staff soon on what kind of emergency dispatch system it wants on the other end of the telephone when 911 is dialed from the island.
At its 1 p.m. regular workshop today at Town Hall, Assistant Town Manager Anne Ross will present two 911 dispatch options for commissioners: stick with what you got and transition with Manatee County as it revamps its 911 system or take Sarasota County up on its offer to provide dispatch service.
Both counties, as well as municipalities all over the country, are undergoing big changes to provide advanced technology options for 911 users that are more likely to make calls from their cell phones than from landlines.
Town staff has been having back and forth discussions with Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office officials since 2013 on its offer to consolidate its 911 dispatch service, which doesn’t need the five current Longboat Key dispatchers to provide the service. Sarasota County consolidated and updated its system in the 1990s.
But Manatee County announced in September its transitioning to the NextGen 911 system, which will allow dispatch to handle digital technology. The news means that no longer which way the town decides to go, changes and the costs that go along with the upgrades are coming for either service the town chooses.
Also at its regular workshop, commissioners will discuss options for roundabouts on Gulf of Mexico Drive at Broadway and Longboat Club Road. They will also discussing doing away with an ordinance that doesn’t allow residents or visitors to buy alcohol before noon on Sundays. The city of Sarasota recently did away with such an ordinance and no other nearby municipality has a law like that on the books anymore.
For more information on today’s workshop, check www.yourobserver.com and pick up a copy of this week’s Longboat Observer.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].