Erath County commissioners approved Monday the creation of the North Central Texas Council of Governments, or NCTOG, Regional Emergency Communications District.

At present, NCTOG operates the state’s 9-11 system for Dublin, Stephenville and Erath County. Citizens in those cities and the county pay 50 cents per month on their phone bills to pay for 9-1-1 services and the state legislature has control of those funds.

However, the legislature does not necessarily return all of those funds to the municipalities and counties and in fact has accumulated some $115 million from those charges, and approximately 15 percent of that was collected from our area.

The new regional 9-1-1 ECD would mean direct control of the monies collected from phone customers by management that lives in the area, not lawmakers in Austin.

The cities of Dublin and Stephenville have already approved similar resolutions, and in his proposal and request for approval to the Stephenville City Council in June, City Administrator Pat Bridges said, “The major benefit from this, aside from all the funds collected in our region coming back to it is that a long-range strategic plan could be adopted outlining future capital improvements and replacements for our dispatch centers based on a known and reliable stream of revenue.”

Those funds can be used for both equipment and training of emergency dispatch personnel.

“We’ve spoken with Mike Eastland, executive director of NCTCOG, and he recommends we participate,” said Erath County Judge Tab Thompson. 

The vote to support the creation of the proposed Regional Emergency Communications District and Erath County’s participation in it when it’s created was unanimous.