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E911 asks for same budget as last year
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Emergency 911 has presented its request for funding to Warren County government.
“Our request for allocation is the same as last year, $145,000,” said E911 director Chuck Haston. “Our overall budget is about the same, maybe a little less than last year. We’re on a fixed income and that will be the case until we can get the legislature to look at things our way, but we’re making some progress there.”
The request for funding for the upcoming fiscal year of 2017-18 was made to county Safety Committee members.
E911 is funded by landline and cellphone customers, as well as annual donations by city and county government.
“We are a utility by law but we are the only utility I know of whose rates are capped,” Haston said. “That was influenced by phone companies years and years ago. We’re working on that, trying to make some changes in the legislature. We’ve had success. We’re thinking in a couple more years, maybe, they will see it our way, but no guarantees.”
Fees collected by telephone companies and cellphone users go to the state, which in turn provides 911 districts with funding based on a formula.
Both city and county governments fund the facility using revenue generated from property taxes.
Haston said the state sets the rate per customer by legislative act. However, he would like E911 to become an enterprise system with expenses paid entirely by the residents served in the district, the same as other utilities such as water and electricity.
“The hope would be if we could be independently funded like a utility that would be ideal,” he said. “Until that happens, we are dependent on city and county government allocations.”
Committee members unanimously approved the request for $145,000. The measure must also receive approval from the county Budget and Finance Committee and county Financial Management Committee before full Warren County Commission consideration in the consolidated budget.