At its Sept. 8 meeting, The Logan County Commission (LCC) approved a rate increase to the wireline 911 fee bringing it up to $3 per month.
The LCC has been debating the fee increase for over a month and a special meeting was held Aug. 7 to allow for public comment. At the Aug. 7 meeting, Marilyn Crosby, director of Logan County 911 explained the need for the 100 percent increase in the fee by saying, “…we have been operating with a deficit at the end of the fiscal period for the last few years…The deficit last year alone was around $92,000… Even with the deficits, we were able to operate the last few years because we had some money in reserve… We didn’t think it was appropriate to ask for an increase at that time. That will change in June of next year, however. We are expecting a deficit this year similar to last year’s of $92,000, and we need to purchase around $80,000 worth of equipment, workstations and servers…for the new texting 911 sometime next year to bring our equipment up to standards.”
The wireline 911 fee previously stood at $1.50 a month, and it has now been brought to parity with the current wireless 911 fee of $3 a month. Funds from the wireless 911 fee, however, are not collected directly by Logan County 911: portions of the funds are distributed to the The West Virginia State Police, the Department of Homeland Security and upgrades and maintenance to the state’s emergency radio system before it is distributed to counties based on population.
The equipment and staffing at Logan County 911 are also a factor in homeowner’s insurance rates in the area. Crosby explained at the Aug. 7 meeting that she feared making cuts to work around dwindling fees would increase insurance costs for the people of Logan County.
Commissioner Danny Ellis addressed the fee increase saying, “I don’t take this decision lightly. I asked [Crosby] to provide us with additional information. I went back and looked at several years of her expenditures and I am completely satisfied that this request is totally justified. As a sitting member of this Logan County Commission, I, in no way, will ever jeopardize one life in Logan County. I think we’ve took too many steps forward in our emergency services, and we’re certainly not going to take any backward steps today.”
The next meeting of the Logan County Commission will be held Sept. 8 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]