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Macon County Phone Bills Could Increase To Fund 911 Center

Updated: Monday, May 5 2014, 11:26 AM CDT

MACON COUNTY, Ill. -- It has been more than a decade since 911 surcharges have changed in Macon County. Now with skyrocketing costs at the 911 center, officials are asking for a small increase.

"When we started, it was a piece of hardware that never broke down," said 911 Director, Dan Sanner.

But hardware has been replaced with software. That technology needs updates almost every year. That has caused the Macon County 911 Center to spend more money than they have coming in.

"Since the enhanced 911 system has been established in Macon County we have been running at 90 cents per wire line connection," said Sanner.

Next week the county board will vote to increase that surcharge to $1.25. That would create an additional $15,000 every year.

It's much needed money for a center where thousands of emergency calls are received every year, but the way in which residents are placing those calls has changed.

"We are to the point now where approximately 80% of our 911 calls come from wireless devices," said Sanner.

With more people replacing their landline phone, with a cell phone, less revenue has been generated.

Although cell phones also see a surcharge, that money is split between cellular companies and 911 centers.

"It seems like some of the money that was intended to come to the e911 board has been taken off and spent somewhere else," said Macon County Board Chairman, Jay Dunn.

That's why Dunn is working with state lawmakers to create new legislation for cell phone surcharges.

"We're trying to get all the money that is due to the board to come to the board," said Dunn.

Although legislation to bring in more revenue from cell phone users has been tossed around for years, Macon County officials hope something can be passed by the end of the year.

The Macon County Board will vote on the surcharge increase next Thursday.

Last year a similar proposal was brought before the board, but was tabled.

Chairman Jay Dunn says that was so more information and other options could be looked at.

Macon County Phone Bills Could Increase To Fund 911 Center

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