TYLER, Texas (KLTV) — Van Zandt County’s communications system is in desperate need of an upgrade, according to Judge Don Kirkpatrick.
“We are looking at a project of approximately $10 million to help citizens and our first responders for our citizens in Van Zandt County,” says Kirkpatrick. “So while you have the funds, let’s go ahead and use that money for something we had to have anyway.”
Kirkpatrick says the county will eventually have to spend money to provide residents and emergency responders with better reception in rural areas.
Towers will be placed at certain locations in the county.
“Rather than buy it and raise taxes on citizens, we have an opportunity; here is a gift from the federal government,” says Kirkpatrick.
Kirkpatrick mentions that a first responder who ends up in a rural area without being able to call in backup could find themselves in a dangerous situation.
“In turn, this will help the citizens of Van Zandt County when you call 911 and our agents are on the ground, they will have better communication with other departments,” Kirkpatrick says.
Currently, the court is working with a company to get a contract signed to determine the cost of the new communications system. Funds received by the county must be used by 2025. The county received half of the funds in the summer of 2021 from the American Rescue Plan Act.
The other half of the funds has not yet arrived.
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