LOGAN — To allow public comment on proposed increases to the 911 wireline fee, the Logan County Commission (LCC) held a special meeting Friday July 7, and the commission heard several citizens of the county speak both for and against the proposed 100 percent increase.
Currently wireline telephone customers pay $1.50 each month for the 911 fee and wireless customers pay $3 a month. The proposed ordinance would bring the wireline fee to parity with the wireless fee.
President of the LCC, Danny Godby opened the meeting saying, “This period of time will be used for public comment. We want to know what the public thinks. Let me emphasize this: no decision will be made today. We are gong to take all these comments, listen to every thing, break this down and just see what is best for the residents of Logan County.”
Marilyn Crosby, director of Logan County 911, was first to the microphone to provide comment. Crosby addressed the LCC and the relatively crowded meeting room saying, “First of all, we have not asked for a fee adjustment in 22 years. Since the beginning of 911 in 1993, we have not asked for a fee adjustment. I think that says something very good about us that we’ve stayed within the money that we have taken in, but that money has decreased over the years. We have 50 percent of what we started with. We started with 26,000 landlines and now there are only 13,000. This is about having equipment that meets current standards set by the FCC…Our current equipment is using Windows XP which is at the end of its life. It [the fee increase] is also about unfunded mandates. I know you all have heard…texting 911 is coming down the pipeline and it’s going to be an unfunded mandate. 911 is about saving lives, we need up to date equipment and highly trained personal do accomplish this.” Crosby also explained that Logan County 911 has never taken any funds from the fire and ambulance levy.
Concerned citizen Herbert Staten also addressed the LCC with his thoughts about the proposed increase. Staten explained he already pays several 911 fees saying, “For every cell phone you have you get billed $3 a month. I got a wife that has got one [cell phone] and a son that has got one. I am paying $6 a month on those and $1.50 on the land line — that’s $7.50. If you want another $1.50 that makes in $9 a month that I’m paying for 911 service. My commissioners have always tried to save me money and I would like you to keep doing so.”
Gerald Sloane also voiced his thoughts against the proposed increase saying, “In my home I have two cell phones. The fee is double on cell phones. What is this money for? What are they doing with this money?”
Chris Trent, a business owner from the Man area, voiced his thoughts in favor of the ordinance saying, “Today I rise to urge you to pass the 911 ordinance raise. I challenge everyone in this room to think back to 1993….and think of some service that you pay for that has not raised. There are raises for everything. Because Ms. Crosby is a financial hawk and she watches the tax payer’s money very closely, she has not asked for a raise in 22 years. What is the price we can put on a life? I don’t know that answer…but I would venture to guess it’s a lot more than $1.50 a month.”
Having registered the comments of citizens on both sides of the issue, the LCC retired to take them into consideration. Godby stated that the LCC will most likely have reached a decision by the next regularly scheduled meeting of the LCC on Aug. 17 at 3 p.m. at the Logan County Courthouse.
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1729 or by email at [email protected]