June 27, 2016
- Tammy de Weerd
- John Evans
- Bob Henry
- Brad Holton
- Nathan Leigh
- Stan Ridgeway
- Joe Stear
- Darin Taylor
- Rick Yzaguirre
Staff and Guests
- Craig Logan – 911 Program Manager, Idaho Emergency Communications Commission
- Representative Rick Youngblood
- Bill Larsen – Treasure Valley Partnership
Mayor Bob Henry welcomed everyone to the City of Nampa.
Bob said as the City was going through their budget process, they had one council member that wanted to make a change. Their fleet department had brought up a need for a fuel trailer in case the power goes out or in case a fire truck is out on a fire and runs out of fuel. So there was a motion to fund the fuel trailer and reduce Valley Regional Transit by 15%. The motion passed. He called Kelly Fairless and Kelly said there are huge ramifications on Meridian and Caldwell on routes.
Bob indicated that Kelly Fairless was going to come to their July 5th Counsel meeting to explain the ramifications that this reduction would have on the system.
In regard to fuel trailers, Brad indicated there is no need to go buy a new trailer as the Air Force has retired bulk trailers that are real inexpensive. John said he has been looking into this fuel trailer idea. In their fuel contract they have emergency fuel filler for their generators. If they had an emergency where they needed that, there is some likelihood they would not be able to cover the need. Brad said that more than likely, there is Homeland Security money available for this need.
Stan asked if anyone had converted their backup generators to natural gas. Brad said it is not a 1-1 thing. Natural gas has far less btu’s per energy pound than diesel. The cost is significantly more using natural gas.
Stan asked if anyone is hearing anything about cell towers. He had a person come to his office and said they were going to push to keep any control over cell towers out of the hands of cities. Tammy said they do have standards and are not opposed to cell towers. Their standards are not very restrictive. They get a lot of concern from neighbors and have a lot of letters from people they can share with legislators if the legislature attempt to take control of this. People get irate when it comes to cell towers. A lot of times, people don’t really see the cell towers. But they complain if they get a hole in their cell coverage.
Stan said in Eagle they wanted to put a cell tower in a neighborhood near an elementary school. The City, before he got there, had an ordinance that said you can’t put cell towers at elementary schools. You can have them at high schools on the football field light poles. They just asked to extend this one at the high school. The City had a hearing and approved it. The parents went to the school district and complained, so the school district put this on hold.
Stan said this is an interesting process. Both the public and the phone companies get misinformation on the availability and use of towers.
Tammy said they wanted to talk about “area of drilling” concerns. Many of their private wells have been having lots of contaminants. They are concerned because every hole you puncture has an opportunity to affect ground water. They have been working with the Department of Water Resources to improve the standards for drilling and sealing the wells. They had a public hearing and the Department of Water Resources is accepting written comments till July 15. If anyone wants further information, please contact Kyle Radek at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This does add costs and she can attest to that. Tammy said they just drilled a well in Valley County for their cabin. They fully encased their well and have the confidence that their water will not be contaminated in their well.
Brad mentioned that several years ago at a TVP Meeting, Terry Scanlon showed a video on cross-contamination in wells. He said well drillers are the last unregulated “wild cowboys” in Idaho and they are very unified.
Tammy added that they recently had to bail out a county subdivision that was condemned due to this concern.
Nathan said they had a fundraiser for a swimming pool recently where 14 families showed up and they raised $12,000.
John said that he has had Jim McNall from ICRMP come and do a roles and responsibilities training for his city council a couple of times of the last several years. In his presentation, Jim really segregates the administrative function from the policy function. John said he likes to do this when they have new city council members come on board. He suggested that others consider doing this as it is really helpful.
Consolidating 911 Services
Craig Logan thanked the Partnership for the opportunity to come and talk about this subject. He is the 911 Program Manager for, as of the institution of new legislation, July 1, the Idaho Public Safety Commission. It used to be the Emergency Communications Commission. John asked if this absorbed the SIAC. Craig indicated that it did. This legislation takes the SIAC Title 46 and absorbs parts and pieces of this into Title 31 and takes away the SIAC structure, with the exception of the DIGBY’s (District Interoperability Governance Boards). These are a governance model set up by region and the regions are broken out roughly the same as the Department of Transportations’ Regions 1-6.
The question that was asked is what about the consolidation of 911 services. The majority of consolidation talks so far have been via equipment. For example on Customer Premise Equipment (CPE), which is the equipment that move phone calls to the dispatch desk.
There is a thing called Post Remote which is operational in Washington and Payette Counties. They co-located the equipment at the Farmers Mutual Telephone Company and two small boxes at the Sheriff’s Office feed off that equipment.
He sees that consolidation of equipment is where things are going in the future. The other thing that is going to happen in the future is the old school analog service will change into digital or IP based information. This will create the opportunity for real-time text, messaging, sharing data and videos directly in the PSAP - Public Safety Answering Point or dispatch center.
Craig asked if the discussion in the Partnership was centered around, maybe the consolidation of dispatch centers. Bob said ideally it would be nice if Nampa and Canyon County merged, but he can’t speak for the county. From Nampa’s perspective, they are funding $685,000 to upgrade their hardware. This will almost tap out their reserve. Bob added they have had informal discussions with Ada County and the indication is there is room in their facility. Craig added the new dispatch center they are building in Ada County is quite fabulous.
Bob said in his perspective if there was ever a service where consolidation made sense, it is 911 services. Basically it is phone calls and computers. Craig said that consolidation of equipment and the costs of maintenance make sense. The ECC in the past, through the grant fund has been supporting consolidation efforts.
Up in North, Idaho, Nez Perce, Clearwater, Lewis County and some of Idaho County are all coming together as a region to do just this, consolidate some back room equipment.
He cautioned one of the big issues is the governance between the different counties and cities. The City of Nampa was a grandfathered city under a previous legislation. If Nampa decides to merge with another jurisdiction, once that is done it will not be able to be reversed.
Darin said they are still with Canyon County because they are still under the 5,000 calls per year mark. If their calls in Middleton go up substantially, they have been told by the County they would start charging them which is Caldwell’s position. He understands this is a policy.
Craig said as we approach the next generation 911 equipment, the trend they are seeing is; while we can save money on equipment and maintenance, some of the line charges go up and they are going to have to run dual connectivity for the routers that are ran by Century Link.
John asked if geography affects the ability to go digital. Craig confirmed that geography does contribute to this. Also, in a lot of areas in the state, there is a lot of distance between residences and they don’t have the luxury we have with regard to digital pathways and fiber. In Boise County, they have a lot of problem with connectivity as well. They only have one fiber pathway into the county. And the preference is for a dual pathway into the dispatch center.
From what Craig understands the line fees in the Treasure Valley will most likely remain stable where the fees in some of the rural counties will go up in some case double or triple.
John asked about the equipment in the field. Aren’t these going to have to be analog/digital as well? Craig agreed that radios will play an issue. He said this is the back-side of the PSAP Consolidation is that radio difference. This is also a very costly side of the equation.
Brad said we were talking last month if it is worth our political energy to go toward consolidating both Ada and Canyon County. He feels a lot of kingdom’s will feel threatened. Is there a savings to be realized, is there an economy of scale that can be achieved through consolidation. Craig said, in his opinion, from an equipment perspective there is a savings that could be realized.
Craig said these discussions will be taking place real soon. The area PSAP Managers in the region are getting together with Century Link. They are going to have a discussion about doing a service based management agreement. Meaning, no equipment owned, you just pay for the service. This will end up being the CPU and a portion of what could be termed back room equipment.
In Craig’s opinion, the question of personnel consolidation will get heated. Bob said, he is not necessarily talking personnel consolidation. He is talking consolidation of equipment. The people will still be performing their functions.
Bob asked who would be involved with the area PSAP meeting coming up. Craig said, probably Carmen Bogert, in Canyon County it would be Roxanne Wade and in Ada County he was not sure. Rick said they were going to be in attendance.
Rick asked for more clarification on the intent of this meeting. Craig said, Century Link and West (the brand name of the CPE that Ada County is looking at) will be involved. Because it is going to be managed services, Ada County is working with them to bring that price down for managed services for them as well as all the other nearby counties. It is a very good thing that Ada County is doing, trying to negotiate that price.
Rick said personally that consolidation is probably a good way to go and a good thing to be looking at. He has a question about redundancy.
Craig said under a managed system profile, the equipment might not even be located in the State of Idaho. There would be two separate server banks geographically separated because of the need for redundancy. But what would happen if the dispatch center went under water or something happened to that center? You would have to have a plan for that in place and Ada County currently has one with ISP.
Rick Youngblood said a pretty good amount of money was appropriated to ISP to upgrade their center and updating their equipment. He said that ISP’s equipment was real antiquated and he was happy they were able to come together to bring the system up to date. He said the new legislation called for a total consolidation of the public safety, dispatch, interoperability, communications and mobile broadband. There are 54 people involved in this and they are going to consolidate it down to 18. And the Governor of course selects all those folks in conjunction with General Richy the Homeland Security Chief.
Craig said regarding the big picture for the consolidation for 911, they had money for 911 and a system in place to make sure that phone call gets to another human being. Within certain criteria what comes with that is the caller’s name and address. In most dispatch center’s or PSAP’s, what occurs is the individual takes the phone call, handles the issue with the citizen and turns into a dispatcher which dispatches fire, EMS or law enforcement. That time where the dispatch happens, that is the line where ECC was at.
The other issue they found was there was an entire other agency called the SIEC that was in charge of that radio and interoperability piece. Then along comes first net bringing the broad band piece that adds another organization. On top of that they are trying to look at next generation 911. He noticed that all the meetings being generated by the varying organizations were being attended by the same people.
A piece of Senate Bill 1212 was the idea to treat the whole entire system as one system. From phone call to incident closeout, it should be a systemic wide look and there should be only one commission that takes care of the entire system. That is effectively what Senate Bill 1212 did. It took in 911, added in the radios, added in broadband and dispatch. It also created the opportunity to funnel money into the new IPSC for radio specific issues. The other thing it did was kept the line in the sand for those 911 money’s.
John asked for clarification on the redundant capabilities. So we have collective equipment and that collective equipment is compromised in some way. How will the redundancy work? Will that centralized hardware be backed up with other hardware locations around the region? Craig said yes. Effectively that equipment could possible not even be located in the State of Idaho.
Craig said, if we had the connectivity, if we had the IP network around the State, that fail over would happen depending on how you wrote the code. Let’s say Ada County goes down. Right now, the calls go to ISP or Canyon County. If it is a real bad situation, Canyon County would not be able to hold the volume. So this becomes a problem.
Craig said let’s talk about the TTY equipment for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. It is this big clunky thing that makes people shackled to their house in case they need to call 911. This is a real issue. Most of them walk around with cell phones but they can’t call but can text. We have that capability in seven dispatch centers in the State currently. These few systems with this text capability ha\ve already proven its worth and are responsible for several saves.
Bob said, Meridian and Nampa are growing together. If he has a resident on that jurisdictional boundary, he wants the closest unit to be responding regardless of jurisdiction. This is what he wants. He wants this to be a reality for his citizens.
Rick said the most important thing for him is this was not just put together. Over 150 people throughout the State have been working on this for over 18 months. The consolidation will not happen overnight but it is going to be a huge opportunity for the whole State to have better communications. Up North with the challenges with the fires and the problems they had with communication really spurred this on.
Darin moved to approve the minutes and financial report, Stan seconded. Motion approved.
Bill pointed to the financial report in the TVP received $308 this last month. It was from the City of Homedale for next Fiscal Year’s dues.
Bill reminded everyone that next month’s meeting will be July 18th at Ada County at a location to be determined.