Monroe County, Mich., OKs 911 Phone Surcharge Increase

The $2-per-device surcharge will be one of the main funding sources for technology and equipment upgrades, officials said. Phone users currently pay 42 cents on every device.

by Dean Cousino, Monroe News / April 30, 2019
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(TNS) — A surcharge for Monroe County, Mich., 911 emergency phone calls and dispatch services will more than quadruple for 2019-20.

The Board of Commissioners approved 9-0 the rate at a maximum $2 per device as approved by voters last August.

The higher rate takes effect July 1.

The charge will show up in monthly bills for landline, wireless and voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) services.

Currently, phone users pay 42 cents on every device, a fee that was established by commissioners in 2009.

The surcharge increase will bring in more revenue for funding the county dispatch center and allow technology enhancements to be made, officials said earlier.

It's one of the main funding sources for the center and for mobile and portable radios used by all police, fire and emergency medical services in the county.

The increase was used last fall to buy hundreds of new mobile radios, control stations and accessories for first responders at a huge discount to replace public safety equipment that was becoming obsolete, officials said.

Under the resolution approved last week, the board is required to set the rate by May 15 every year. The rate cannot exceed $2 under a proposal okayed by voters, 13,141-9,520.

County Administrator Michael Bosanac recommended the increase, saying the higher rate from the surcharge would boost income about $ 1.7 million — from $1.6 million in 2019 to $3.4 million in 2020. Earnings from intergovernmental revenue — another revenue source — would stay the same at $ 413,068, Bosanac said.

Officials said the increase was needed because technology costs at the dispatch center off S. Raisinville Rd. have risen in recent years. The center gets about 5,000 calls a day and 2 million annually and operates on an annual budget of $2.4 million.

©2019 Monroe News, Mich. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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