SPARTA, Wis. -

Communication is an important part of the success of emergency responders.

When it fails, it can cost lives.

That's why the Monroe County 911 Communications Center is trying to get approval to replace its current, unreliable radio system.

The Monroe County 911 Communications Center has been trying to get a new radio system for more than a year.

In January, changes from the FCC made the radio system even more unreliable than it was before.

There are even large parts of the county where there is no radio service at all.

But replacing it isn't cheap, which is one of the major reasons the County Board voted against it.

In an emergency, time can be the difference between a life saved and a life lost.

"Seconds mean lives," said Monroe County dispatch officer Rich Laxton.

It's a big problem when you have a radio system, like Monroe County, that's so weak dispatchers continually have to ask their officers to repeat themselves.

"Daily. During a shift I would say approximately six times," said Laxton.

But a resolution for a new radio system stalled last month when the County Board voted it down.

"The funding got voted down at the main meetings so we're back to where we started," said 911 Communications Center Director Randy Williams.

One of the county board members said he voted against the resolution because the county has already approved paying for a new $25 million jail. He said tacking on another $4 million to $6 million for a new radio system is just too much to pay for all at once.

But Williams said you can't put a price tag on safety.

"We want to take care and fix the problem before we do have a situation where someone's seriously hurt or seriously injured or killed," said Williams.

Williams called a meeting with county emergency responders to come up with a new game plan and asked everyone to call their county representative.

"To express upon those that are voting against this how important and critical a new radio system is in our county," said Williams.

He's hoping that taking the time now to fight for a new system will save lives in the future.

Williams said they'll take a modified proposal back to the Public Safety Committee on Monday night.

From there, they hope to get it reintroduced at the next County Board meeting at the end of the month.

If the proposal fails to pass again, Williams said the effort will be stalled for quite a while.

He'll have to wait at least nine months to try to pass the same proposal again.