The Lake County E911 Authority (E911 Authority) was created by an intergovernmental agreement between Lake County, the City of Leadville, and St. Vincent General Hospital District (SVGHD) to enhance existing 911 and dispatch services while increasing communication and coordination between first responder agencies that utilize dispatch services.
The E911 Authority existed pre-pandemic, but at the time, didn’t include a representative from SVGHD. The group went dormant during the COVID pandemic, but over the last 18 months the partners have renewed their interest in developing greater community coordination between any agency who uses dispatch.
Dispatch services in Lake County were previously overseen by the Sheriff’s Office, though multiple agencies use the service. With the renewed formation of the E911 Authority, 911 Dispatch services will now be overseen by the E911 Authority.
E911 Authority Structure
The renewed E911 Authority consists of five seats with representatives from the Sheriff’s Office, Leadville-Lake County Fire Rescue (LLCFR), Leadville Police Department (LPD), St. Vincent Health (SVGHD Ambulance Services) and the Office of Emergency Management (LCOEM). The Lake County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) appoints the E911 Authority Board members after nominations are provided by each agency. In June, the BOCC appointed the following individuals to serve on the Lake County E911 Authority for three-year terms: Sheriff Heath Speckman, Chief Dan Daily (LLCFR), Chief Ken Chavez (LPD), Director Jeremiah Grantham (SVGHD Ambulance Services) and Director Claire Skeen (LCOEM). Following Chief Chavez’s resignation from the LPD in October, that seat will be vacant until the city provides a new nomination to the BOCC.
The renewed E911 Authority’s inaugural meeting occurred November 8, 2023. As part of the agenda, the E911 Authority elected officers for the coming year:
- Board Chair: Sheriff Speckman
- Vice Chair: Chief Dailey
- Secretary: Director Grantham
- Treasurer: Director Skeen
This fills all Board seats as required by the IGA and Bylaws, so the LPD seat will sit as an at-large member. The City and County also have two ex-officio seats provided by the IGA.
E911 Authority and Dispatch Funding Source
E911 Authority and Dispatch are funded by the Emergency Telephone Charge (ETC), which is a per line charge wireless companies charge to cell phone users currently set at $1.81 a line. The Board voted at the November 8th meeting to increase the charge as allowed by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to $2.05, which will go into effect on February 1, 2024. The Board will notify telecom providers by December 1, 2023 to provide the 60-day notice as required by statue. This charge is passed through to cell phone users by their wireless provider and can be found on the bottom of their cell phone bill. They will see an increase of $0.24 cents per billing cycle. Users also incur a State 911 surcharge of .09 per bill, which goes to the State.
Increased ETC fees will be used to upgrade equipment, bring on more staff to increase capacity for emergency dispatching, and hiring paid staff leadership to run E911 services under the oversight of the E911 Authority.
The E911 Authority is also funded by a tax on prepaid cell phone purchases, and from annual payments from the City, County and SVGHD that is based on call volume and usage of dispatch from a three-year average.
E911 Authority Goals
For the rest of 2023, the E911 Authority set the following goals:
- Notify the telecom providers of the ETC rate increase;
- Create a budget for the E911 service;
- Draft long-term financial plans;
- Appoint an interim Executive Director of Lake County dispatch while crafting a full time, regular County position to post for hire in early 2024
In 2024, they will pursue the following goals and projects:
- Hiring and Onboard of an Executive Director;
- Creating an independent dispatch center out from the direct report of LCSO. All Dispatch employees will remain Lake County Employees, but will be supervised by the Executive Director and the Authority Board;
- Planning for equipment purchases and upgrades;
- Planning for moving dispatch into the Community Justice Center;
- Enhanced training opportunities for dispatchers, to include emergency medical dispatching to enhance lifesaving dispatch services to 911 callers;
- Recruitment and retention of dispatchers
E911 Authority Meeting Schedule
The regular E911 Authority meeting schedule for 2024 will be set in the coming weeks. Their next meeting will be a budget work session set for December 8th at 9:00 a.m. and their next regular meeting will occur on December 1, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. Members of the public are welcome to attend E911 Authority meetings, and can learn about upcoming agendas or read past minutes on the Lake County website
For questions about the E911 Authority’s meetings, agendas, minutes, goals: please contact Claire Skeen, LCOEM Director, 719-427-7785, email@example.com