911 Board submits request to increase surcharge 55¢
September 22, 2021
The Phillips County 911 Authority Board submitted a request to the Public Utilities Commission to raise the monthly surcharge on phone lines to $2.30 per month. If the change is approved, it would not take effect until Feb. 1, 2022. The current $1.75 surcharge on land lines and cell phones is not bringing in enough income to provide for the increased costs in 911 dispatch staffing and costs to meet vendor annual costs.
The Phillips County 911 Authority Board met on Monday, Aug. 23 at the third floor meeting room in the Phillips County Courthouse. The board discussed the County’s need to maintain current Communications Center staffing of five full-time and one part-time dispatchers.
Additionally, the board acknowledged that an annual maintenance fee agreement to provide software, servers, services and support and maintenance was entered into with CentralSquare for $30,210 on March 19, which, going forward, will be an ongoing expense to the annual budget.
Employee costs have risen approximately 38 percent since the 2015 surcharge, due to many factors including significant increased costs for employee benefits, particularly for health insurance. The proposed increase would also allow the board to slowly build a reserve fund which will be needed to cover necessary upgrades to software and hardware in the future.
The Public Utilities Commission requires public notice and a complete review of the financial books to determine whether to grant the increase. Legal notice is being published in the Haxtun and Holyoke newspapers.
The 911 Authority Board was established in April of 1991. The surcharge started at $0.70 per line per month. The last increase was in 2015 when it was increased to $1.75.