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911 agreement not an emergency for Acton

By Celeste Katz Marston
July 13, 2023

Concord’s concerns about a deal the town made to create a regional 911 response center in partnership with neighboring Acton are crossing the border — but it’s not clear it’s being viewed as a true emergency. 

Although two years have gone by since Concord and Acton signed a pact to create a regional 911 dispatch service, the project hasn’t developed much. The town managers, police chiefs, and some Select Board members who were in office when the towns inked the agreement have since left those jobs. 

Select Board Member Terri Ackerman reported at Monday night’s meeting that she’d met with an Acton counterpart, Dean Charter, to discuss the future of the Acton-Concord Regional Emergency Communications Center, or A-C RECC.

“One thing that he told me which was really interesting was that this RECC was not originally a Select Board goal in Acton — and they have 27 goals this year and it’s not even one of the goals this year,” Ackerman said. “He said it’s not even on their radar screen, really.”

She said Acton may “possibly” take up the issue at their July 24 meeting. 

If the RECC — which has been discussed as being housed right next door to the Acton Police Department, which Concord officials have described as a non-”neutral” site — does it make it onto the agenda, Ackerman said, they’ll take up Concord’s two main questions: “Is Acton open to exploring a more neutral site, and is Acton open to including other neighboring communities?”

At Concord’s last Select Board meeting, members discussed the idea of taking a half-year breather on the project to see if other towns might want to sign on. 

Town Manager Kerry Lafleur said she’d followed up with Project Manager Mark Cady on the possible financial ramifications of hitting the brakes. Cady, she said, told her that E-911 grant funding for Fiscal Years 2022 and 2023 would not be jeopardized by a pause, and a budget modification can be applied if the plan changes.

Concord will revisit the future of the RECC at its August 7 meeting, board Chairman Henry Dane said.