SUNBURY — The upgrade project for Northumberland County 911 services is likely to cost an additional $700,000 and be delayed by at least three months, a consultant with Mission Critical Partners told the county commissioners Tuesday.

Consultant Sean Petty informed Commissioners Vinny Clausi, Stephen Bridy and Rick Shoch that alternate sites for four of the seven towers had to be found because of structural deficiencies in the original options in Herndon, Pillow, Point Township and Coal Township. The towers would be unable to hold the additional antennas and would have cost $1.4 million to upgrade.

Instead, new towers were sought, costing a $220,000 total. While that money is still within the $8.5 million budget, additional site work is estimated to cost another $700,000, bringing the budget up to $9.2 million, Petty said.

Delays, including this one and others already experienced, could push the project’s competition date to the second quarter of 2015, which is past the deadline of Jan. 1, Petty said.

Clausi and Bridy voted in favor of authorizing Mission Critical to move forward while Shoch voted against it.

Shoch has voted against the project in the past, saying it was Clausi’s mess to clean up.

In August, the Union County commissioners instructed their 911 officials to stop emergency call service to northern Northumberland County beginning Jan. 1, 2015, over non-payment of two quarterly $25,000 bills and an unwillingness by the Northumberland County commissioners to discuss a proposed compromise fee of $100,000 a year for service over the next 10 years.

Petty said the original goal of the project was to cover every part of Northumberland County with its own services, but there was an option not to put towers in that end of the county.

However, he said, it wouldn’t save money because it just meant the county would be back a year or two later spending more money to better cover the northern end.

Shoch also disagreed with approving a $523,000 proposal from Klacik & Associates, of Shamokin, for a five-year contract for professional auditing services. The firm will also charge $6,000 for the 911 triennial audit.

The county shouldn’t be locked into a contract for that long and the current board shouldn’t shackle the future board with an auditor, Shoch said.

Plus, Clausi uses the firm for his own personal and business accounting, Shoch said.

“They aren’t even capable of handling the county audit on their own, but instead have to partner with another firm in order to handle it,” Shoch said.

Clausi and Bridy approved the contract. Shoch voted against it.

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