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Little comes of 911 meeting

May 06, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE and DAVE McMILLIONs

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Despite citizen opposition to proposed road name changes, the president of the Berkeley County Commission said the county will most likely proceed with its enhanced 911 plan.

"At this point, we would be changing in midstream," said D. Wayne Dunham. "That would open the whole process right back up and that would cost a lot of money."

The County Commission listened Thursday night as members of Common Sense 911 outlined what they believe are the problems with the county's plan.

The biggest problem, said Common Sense 911 member Tom Grove, has been created by the county's attempts to eliminate similar-sounding road names.

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The county claims changing the names will be beneficial in emergency situations while opponents to the plan argue it has simply created more confusion.

The group also suggested the county take another look at the computer equipment it plans to buy and said the county should not rush its plans to meet a Dec. 31 deadline.

The County Commission rejected a request to talk about the 911 issue next Thursday and instead suggested the group take a tour of the county's 911 facility and meet with members of the Berkeley County 911 Committee.

While the County Commission promised to take the suggestions under advisement, Grove said he was disappointed with the commission's reaction.

"There were no signs any concessions would be made," Grove said. "I expected a dialogue, not just a formal presentation."

Grove added his group was left with "no other recourse," except to possibly file an appeal on its earlier attempt to get an injunction against the address conversion.

About 50 people sat quietly watching county presentations in the second-floor courtroom in the Berkeley County Courthouse, a marked contrast to the angry outbreak the address conversion elicited at last week's County Commission meeting.

Earlier in the day, 911 Director Mary Kackley updated the Berkeley County Commissioners on the progress of the enhanced-911 plan.

Kackley said the county and the attorney for the Olivers have been negotiating on how to change the name of Big F Park Road.

The road will likely be changed to Big Fitzwater Road, Kackley said.

Meanwhile, the county has received about 16 appeals from other people wanting to change road names near their homes, said Kackley.

Packets explaining each homeowner's new address and new road name, if applicable, are being distributed to residents in the county.

Many counties in Maryland and other states have switched to enhanced 911 without citizen input on road names, Commissioner Robert L. Burkhart said.

"I'm proud of the way it's been done here," Burkhart said.

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