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News : 911 Center Faces Funding Shortfall
Cherokee County, OK, May 18, 2015 -- Cherokee County 911 is facing a funding problem, mostly due to a decreasing number of land lines in use, and the lack of an increase in fees charged to wireless phone users.
Marty Kimble, 911 coordinator, said recent state legislation has tried to address the issue, but the bill is now "dormant" in committee.
Currently, according to state legislation, 911 call centers can receive between 5 and 15 percent of land line fees to maintain services, depending on how counties vote.
Cherokee County funnels 5 percent of a land line fee toward its 911 system. Statewide, 911 call centers receive a 50-cent fee for all wireless services.
Kimble said that for some time now, the rising use of cellphones and the decreasing number of land lines meant roughly the same amount of monies were received by 911 centers.
But in the fiscal year 2009-2010, the wireless service "plateaued," while the number of land lines has continued to fall.
"From when the funding plateaued in fiscal year 2009-2010 to fiscal year 2013-2014, we have seen a revenue drop of $38,456.41," said Kimble.
While the exact revenue drop has varied from year to year, it is very substantial, according to Kimble. He also said it appears the 911 budget will continue to drop in 2014-2015 fiscal year. Kimble said this budget shortfall will mainly affect capital projects, like an already-approved project allowing people to text the 911 center.
The center will also be unable to make upgrades and is leaving some positions dark, instead of hiring someone to fill a vacant post.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Friday, May 22, 2015