Committee proposed to examine costs, options in effort to save Seaford 911 Center

SEAFORD – Seaford 911 Center, the first 911 call center in Delaware that handled its first call some 43 years ago, may have a new lease on life.

After about two hours of sometimes emotional public testimony Tuesday night before a packed house at the Seaford Fire Hall, city council put on hold the vote on proposed transition of E-911 services/police dispatch functions from the Seaford center to Sussex County and Delaware State Police – pending further review.

Residents of the city of Seaford raise their hands in response to a show-of-hands inquiry pertaining to the proposed transition of E-911 calls to SussCom/Delaware State Police in Georgetown and ultimate closure of the Seaford 911 Center.

City council voted 4-1 to support Seaford Mayor David Genshaw’s suggestion that the city “pull together a committee of some of the key people … to meet, to look at all the numbers, all the costs, all the options in way to save our 911 center.”

Seaford 911 Center serves approximately 24,860 people in the entire 19973 zip code, which includes approximately 7,200 city of Seaford residents.

While the Seaford 911 Center service area extends beyond city limits it is funded only by Seaford residents.

Seaford 911 Dispatch Administrator Anita Bell speaks at Tuesday night’s city council meeting in support of the Seaford 911 Center that has served Seaford and surrounding areas for more than four decades.

Seaford’s current fiscal year budget that runs through June 30, 2020 includes $657,000 in expenses for its own 911 center. On the revenue side, the city receives about $38,000 annually from a fee imposed on telephones and cell phones to subsidize 9-1-1 calls.

A 19 percent cost increase is anticipated for the next fiscal year, which includes technical upgrades, facility maintenance and training along with space constraints.

Moving operations to Georgetown would bring $400,000 to $500,000 in 2020 savings, according to the city.

More than a dozen people, including past and current Seaford police and fire chiefs, stepped to the podium in support of keeping Seaford 911 Center in service.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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