Commissioners looking to reduce spending on CodeRED system

By David Fenker

The contract for Wabash County’s emergency alert notification system is up for renewal, and the County Commissioners are looking to improve its terms and save money.

Keith Walters, County Emergency Management Agency executive director, informed the commissioners that the county’s contract for the CodeRED Alerting System is up for renewal, at the price of $28,500 for the next three years. The system is a telephone-based emergency alerting system that warns county residents of emergency situations via text message or TDD/TTY for the hearing impaired. The county’s contract includes 50,000 minutes per year, which are used up as alerts go out.

County Attorney Steve Downs had reviewed the contract, and posed a question to the commissioners that may result in a reduced price.

“They present us a contract for 50,000 [minutes] for $28,500, which is a lot of money for minutes we don’t use,” Downs said.

“We don’t get credit for minutes we don’t use, and we can’t carry the minutes over to the subsequent year either.”

Walters informed those present that only 20,000 minutes were used in 2015, and fewer have been used so far this year.

“The last three year contract was $51,000; it’s now down to $28,500,” Walters said.

He noted that EMA negotiated the contract down after getting quotes from other providers, something they had been unable to do previously due to a lack of available providers.

“Back in 2008, when we started with them, there wasn’t any competition. Now, there are several companies providing the service,” Walters said.

He volunteered to look into reducing the number of minutes, which the commissioners agreed to.

County residents interested in signing up for the CodeRED system may do so at the EMA’s website,

In other news, the Wabash County Sheriff’s Department requested permission to ask the County Council for a total of $100,000 in additional appropriations for prisoner transport, an increase of $8,000 from what they previously requested.

Sheriff Bob Land also reported the following jail numbers: 89 inmates are in the Wabash County Jail, 55 are being held in Miami County and four are located in Elkhart County. Of those, 22 are new in the last week.

The commissioners also approved a $6,000 computer upgrade for the Economic Development Group of Wabash County, and a $137,340 contract with Purdue University for the Purdue Extension office.

The EDG computer upgrade includes two laptops, a tablet and software. The money for that will be drawn from the county’s economic development income tax, or CEDIT, fund.

The Purdue contract allows the Purdue Extension office to continue to operate, and was approved without discussion. The office offers several programs in areas such as agriculture and natural resources, health and human sciences, economic and community development, and 4-H youth development.

Posted on 2016 Nov 15