NEW PHILADELPHIA — The 0.5-percent temporary sales tax to fund improvements to the county's 911 emergency response system passed by a slim margin Tuesday.

A total of 5,787 residents (or 50.63 percent) voted in favor of the sales tax increase in Tuesday's primary election, compared to 5,643 residents (or 49.37 percent), were voting no, according to unofficial totals from the Tuscarawas County Board of Elections.

Money raised by the two-year sales tax would be used to fund purchase of an $11.6 million radio system for law

enforcement and first responders to replace the current system, which will reach its end of life on Dec. 31.

Tuscarawas County has signed an 11-year agreement with Motorola for upgrading the system equipment and software, and purchasing 1,200 radios for the county and local fire and police departments.

The system will be installed by Staley Technologies of New Philadelphia.

The county will be joining the state system, which is called MARCS (Multi-Agency Radio Communications System).

The county owns six towers that are used to transmit radio traffic. By joining MARCS, the county will gain access to six state towers, five of them located in areas just outside the county.