EVERETT, Wash. -- The mid-term election is less than two weeks away and if voters in Snohomish County give Proposition 1 the green light, it'll be a big boost to the area's deteriorating 911 emergency radio system.
“The technology there is... just wearing out the components within it,” said Brad Steiner with Snohomish County Emergency Radio System.
In January, a system failure prevented dispatchers and first responders from talking for almost 20 minutes -- it affected 400,000 people in the county.
“We’ve had eight additional outages," Steiner said. "Since then we’ve had service interruptions."
A new 911 radio system would cost as much as $68 million.
Proposition 1 in Snohomish County would increase the sales tax by 0.1 percent.
But critics question why county leaders haven't saved up to replace the E-911 system. They also argue that people pay a tax for the system from a telephone bill surcharge. Finally, critics say a sales tax increase is not the right way to pay for the system.
But, supporters say it's what other counties have done. King County replaced its 911 radio system with funding from a voter-approved property tax. Pierce County has replaced its system with the help of a sales tax.
“Our system is in rough shape for sure,” said Mill Creek Police Chief Greg Elwin.
He emphasized the need for support for Prop 1.
"We know these pieces are failing and we are doing something to address the issue,” Elwin said.