FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – The Cumberland County 9-1-1 Committee met on Friday, May 6 to receive an update from County staff on the project to renovate the facility at 500 Executive Place, Fayetteville, to house a new Emergency Services Center. The facility will house Cumberland County Emergency Services, which includes 9-1-1 Telecommunications, the Fire Marshal, Emergency Management and the County’s Emergency Operations Center.
During the meeting, staff shared that the project is currently under budget, but that supply chain issues have delayed the anticipated completion of the facility.
Cumberland County Director of Engineering and Infrastructure Jermaine Walker told the committee that the project is currently under budget due to technology costs coming in lower than originally anticipated and that the County will be able to use any debt proceeds remaining once the project is completed to make the initial debt payment on the new facility. He said the County will also recognize considerable savings from the installation of LED lights.
Walker did note that the anticipated completion of the project has been delayed by several factors including supply chain issues. He said the County is now on its third vendor for the communications shelter due to supply chain issues and vendor shortages.
The most significant challenge is the delay in receiving the UPS or “uninterruptable power supply” for the facility. The UPS prevents the building from shutting down when the power goes out, which is essential for a 9-1-1 center. Walker said he is currently anticipating receiving the UPS in early June, but that other components required for its operation are in other countries, which is causing a delay. He said the County is currently competing with companies like Amazon and Tesla for these components, in addition to other Emergency Services centers.
In an effort to be ready to move forward when the UPS arrives, Walker said he was able to get the manufacturer for the UPS busbar system, which functions as the central nervous system for the UPS system, to ship the busbar in components rather than all at once.
“That way, as soon as we get it in, we can install that portion and we’re not losing any time on the backend,” he said.
Another delay is being caused by the establishment of a secondary fiber line to serve the facility. The facility already has primary fiber connectivity through CenturyLink, however a second fiber line is required that enters the facility from an alternate direction in order to create redundancy should one of the lines get cut. The State 9-1-1 Board has contracted with AT&T to install the secondary fiber line, however due to the facility’s location, the secondary line has to run underneath the railroad tracks. At this point, the railroad authority has not approved an easement to allow the fiber line to be run beneath the tracks.
Emergency Services Director Gene Booth said staff is working to expedite the approval process.
“This is critical infrastructure, and we need to get it taken care of,” Booth said.
Cumberland County Board of Commissioners Chairman Glenn Adams and Commissioner Jeannette Council, who serve on the 9-1-1 Committee and attended the meeting, said they understood the supply chain issues are beyond staff’s control, and that they appreciated staff moving the project forward despite the delays.
“So, what you are saying is that even with all of these challenges and things that you’re doing … we are under budget,” said Adams. “That’s just tremendous.”
He and Commissioner Council recommended revising the anticipated completion date to December 2022 to account for additional unforeseen delays, based on the most current information available regarding when the supply chain and permitting issues may be resolved.
County Finance Officer Vicki Evans also updated the Board regarding the need to submit a budget revision for the project because the State 9-1-1 Board wants the County to account for grant funds from the 9-1-1 Board and from the County’s 9-1-1 Fund Balance within the Emergency Telephone 9-1-1 Fund instead of within the Emergency Operations Center Capital Project Fund. 9-1-1 funds may only be used to cover portions of the project related to the 9-1-1 center. The budget revision will reduce the capital project budget to account for those funds and will increase the revenue side to account for total debt proceeds received.
The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners will receive an update on the project and requested budget revision during their Agenda Review meeting Thursday, May 12, 2022, which will start at 1 p.m.
For more information about Cumberland County government, please visit cumberlandcountync.gov and follow the county on social media by searching Cumberland County, North Carolina.