The Association of Arkansas Counties has distributed a news release that sets the stage for a push for increasing allowable fees on wireless phones to pay for county-operated 911 emergency phone centers. Fees are falling short as people give up landline phones for wireless. CORRECTION: I bungled the comparative costs originally. They are 65 cents per wireless phone per month, but 5 to 12 percent of the base rate for a landline per month, or, $2.40 if the rate is 5 percent on a $20 base rate.
The release says counties are spending $10 to $12 million statewide on 911 centers from general revenue in excess of user fees and costs are rising.
(Maybe Buddy Villines could share a little of Pulaski’s road and bridge money, instead of painting that new bridge three colors.) More seriously, will the Arkansas legislature smile on phone fee increases in the new Republican era? Even for an emergency phone service? Complication: Additional money is likely to be sought this year, too, for Smart 911, a pilot project underway through a private contractor but without continuing funding.
News release follows: