Lehigh Valley

Lehigh County closer to 9-1-1 system overhaul

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Lehigh County is closer to entering into an agreement with a communications company to consolidate its 9-1-1 system.

On Wednesday night commissioners approved a deal on first reading with Tuway Mobile Communications that would create a regional ESINet infrastructure system. The pact will enable the consolidation of existing infrastructures, common hardware and software and mission critical 9-1-1 applications. The deal is worth about $2.75 million.

An overview of the project reveals that the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency has envisioned an ESINnet infrastructure throughout the state to cultivate the consolidation of regional services. As such, Lehigh Valley agencies are mandated to consolidate their existing infrastructures. In Lehigh County's case, they are collaborating with neighboring Public Safety Answering Points, the City of Allentown 9-1-1 Bureau of Communications, Northampton County Emergency Management and the City of Bethlehem 9-1-1 Communications to share core backroom components.

"This is phase one of a $18 million overhaul," Commissioner Brad Osborne, said.

In other news, commissioners also OK'd on first reading a second amended and restated agreement with Magellan Behavioral Health of Pennsylvania. The sides originally signed a deal in July 2015, for MBH to manage the county's HealthChoices Behavioral Health Program.

In approving the deal, Commissioner David Jones said he was less than pleased with MBH's initial productivity. However, he said they have improved in his estimation and have "earned and deserved this contract."

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