Possibly Higher Service Charge Rate for Houston County

By: Deborah Tuff
By: Deborah Tuff

The E-911 Advisory Committee has proposed a budget of $1.2 million for the fiscal year 2006. But they say something has to be done about the loss of revenue they've experienced because of cell phones.

As technology increases and people migrate using cell phones that diminishes the resources," Dothan Police Chief and E-911 Director John Powll says, "the revenue has to be streamlined so we can finance the E-911 system

Currently, residents have about $0.84 in E-911 service charges on their monthly phone bills. Businesses have $5.08. What the advisory committee is proposing is a $1.75 raise for residents and $2.87 hike for businesses.

Currently there's legislation to increase the wireless cost, which E-911 only gets three percent of, but the bill has not passed, and even if it did, "The increase in cellulars may be two, three years down the road," E-911 Communications Manager Pat Hall says.

The state legislature handles the cell phone rate charge. According to members, half goes to the district and the other half goes to the to the cell phone service provider. The proposed increase would cost businesses about $34 more a year. E-911 officials say they'd use the money to buy much needed equipment and respond quicker to calls.

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