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Telephone surcharge increase on ballot for Tama County

Money needed for emergency infrastructure improvement

November 2, 2012
By ANDREW POTTER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

TAMA - The public's move from landlines to cell phones has put counties who rely on the 911 surcharge looking for funding.

Tama County has a referendum on the ballot Tuesday to increase the landline surcharge from $12 a year to $24 a year to help pay for this difference and help with equipment cost, especially as an FCC mandate for narrowband transmissions goes into effect next year for emergency services.

"There's just a lot of infrastructure improvement to be done," said Ryan Currens, emergency management director of Tama County.

If passed, the increased surcharge would mean an additional $60,000 annually to help with emergency equipment.

Currens said the landline 911 charge is $1 but they get just 30 cents from each cell phone.

"When you get a person that drops their landline in favor of a cell phone, that's 70 cents in the wrong direction for us," Currens said.

He said Tama County has not had an increase in the 911 surcharge for landlines in nearly 20 years. Currens has hosted several open houses to talk about the surcharge referendum and has done other public awareness activities.

The vote needs a simple majority of 50 percent plus one to pass.



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