Emergency communications leaders from across the state gathered Tuesday, April 15th for their annual “9-1-1 Day at the State Capitol” event. Much of the discussion among the 9-1-1 leaders and with state legislators revolved around Senate Bill 1445. Senate Bill 1445 failed to gain approval from the House’s General Government Committee earlier in the month. The bill would have allowed counties to increase the current service fee from $.50 to $2.25.
Many county 9-1-1 Coordinators say the increased 9-1-1 revenue is needed to replace lost funding from residents getting rid of their landline phones. Meanwhile, expenses related to providing public safety communications continue to increase.
Some wireless telephone carriers say that Senate Bill 1445 would have been an unreasonable 400% increase to the service fee their customers pay. They are also concerned that 9-1-1 service fees are bearing the full cost in some counties for the entire public safety communications operations, saying 9-1-1 fees should not be used for personnel, radios, and other expenses that are not directly related to 9-1-1 telecommunications.
Lanette Coppedge, Johnston County 9-1-1 Coordinator, who chairs the Statewide 9-1-1 Advisory Board announced at their meeting Tuesday that the Board will bring all stakeholders together in June to discuss each sides’ issues.