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Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
  • Measure on June ballot would increase 911 fees

  • There will be a measure placed on the June 2014 election ballots in Ramsey, Benson, Nelson, Towner and Eddy counties that would increase the fee charged for 911 by 50 cents.
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  • There will be a measure placed on the June 2014 election ballots in Ramsey, Benson, Nelson, Towner and Eddy counties that would increase the fee charged for 911 by 50 cents.
    The 911 fee was designed to be be the sole funding source of the Public Safety Answering Point - the 911 Dispatch Center. The fee is assessed to the user of the system, meaning anyone able to dial 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.
    Since 1995 this assessed fee on communication lines has sustained the operations of the system but with the ever changing technology and the need for our 911 center to be able to adapt, this funding is no longer sustainable with the current fee.
    The Lake Region E-911 Authority yearly is deficient in funds. Since 1995 the governing board of the Lake Region Law Enforcement Center has subsidized E-911, no taxes have ever been levied for 911 from the five associate counties served.
    The 9-1-1 fee is assessed on communication lines within the Lake Region coverage area, more commonly referred to as “Phone Lines.” This may include but is not limited to cellular devices, land-line telephones, and voice over internet protocol systems. Basically any communication system that can be used to dial 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.
    This fee is designed to be the primary funding source for E-9-1-1 operations in five counties of ND which include Ramsey, Benson, Eddy, Nelson and Towner. The reason for placing this measure on the ballot is the cost of operations and equipment for the 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Point. These costs continues to rise; however, the funding has not increased since 1995.
    The 2013 annual income for the 911 center is as follows: $372,963.78 which breaks down into the following expenses:
    Personnel (4 full-time Dispatchers and 90 percent of 911 Coordinator) – 62.88 percent,
    Telephone Fees–15.23 percent,
    Equipment/NDACo/Training–22.17 percent,
    Misc Expenses – 2.26 percent
    The Lake Region E-911 Authority is deficient in funds yearly. Since 1995, the Governing Board of the Lake Region Law Enforcement Center has subsidized the E-911 system yearly. No taxes have ever been levied for 911 from the five associated counties.
    The current 911 Fee is $1.00 per line and the proposed 911 fee would increase the fee by $.50 per phone line which would increase your monthly phone bill $6.00 annually per line.
    Some facts about the Lake Region 911 Center: We dispatch for 42 different Fire and Ambulance Services, 8 Law Enforcement Departments and several services after hours. According to the 2013 Census, estimates show the Lake Region 911 Center dispatches for 5,212.07 sq miles with a population of 25,868. Since 2000, the number of calls taken by dispatch has increased by 57 percent and 911 calls have increased 50 percent.
    We are asking everyone to please consider the impact of this measure and make the best educated decision possible on June 10 when you vote. If this measure is defeated taxes to each of the counties may have to be considered to cover the cost of the E-9-1-1 system.

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