The Mayor of Helotes is asking Bexar County to provide funding for the new equipment he needs or support his emergency and non-emergency dispatch calls.
HELOTES, Texas – The 911 call center in Helotes is dealing with an emergency of its own.
The 911 dispatch center is at risk of closing if it does not receive necessary equipment upgrades by July.
The city management is trying to find a solution before the summer.
In Old Town Helotes—Velinda Gauna and her husband own the Old Helotes Inn
“It was the first dance hall and the third oldest building in Helotes,” Gauna said.
Gauna says the businesses have breathed new life into a historic part of town.
“This little part of town has grown, people are coming from out of town and visiting,” Gauna said.
Gauna says if anything happens to this building that’s been around since 1914, which features those old wooden floors and ceilings, she should call 911.
The city wants to provide these essential services at the right cost.
“Between staffing and equipment services, we cost about $500,000 a year, and for our call volume, we should really be looking at prices between $125 and $145,000,” Mayor Rich Whitehead said. .
Mayor Whitehead has asked the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office to handle his dispatch services, but documents from a Helotes City Council agenda indicate the county would not be able to take on another agency during six months.
Due to required radio upgrades that must be in place by July, six months is too long, says Mayor Whitehead.
“We are now at the decision: 30, because someone has to buy consoles, either Helotes or Bexar County,” said Mayor Whitehead.
Mayor Whitehead spoke briefly with Bexar County Commissioners who said at their meeting that they would try to find funds. Mayor Whitehead says it could be considered an American Rescue Plan Act funded project.
Gauna appreciates any help the Helotes first responders can get.
“Business owners, they all, we all rely on 9-1-1 if we ever need anything,” Gauna said.
The mayor says he has met with county commissioners who hope to come up with a plan for their next scheduled meeting.