911 Funding To Not Change

By Jim Madalinsky

Published 06/18 2014 10:12PM

Updated 06/18 2014 11:12PM

ALTOONA - It comes down to surcharges on your phone lines and cell phones. The law which has been in place for years was due to expire this month, but legislators plan to extend it for another year and some say that's not a good thing.
For the Blair County 911 Center, it's all about keeping up with the times.
 “We just have to make sure there's funding for us to continue to grow the 911 operations. Next Gen 911 and all the things that are coming through with technology that we're expected to react to,” Mark Taylor, Blair County 911 Director says.
Taylor says that will be tough without any extra funding.
State legislators are expected to approve a one year extension to a law that charges people $1.25 for every landline, and $1 for every cell phone.
Taylor, and other 911 Centers statewide hoped that number would go up to help them adapt to changing technology.
“We keep developing our plans in hopes that they raise the fees and get things in shape so we can operate in good status,” Mark Taylor, Blair County 911 Director says.
There's a lot of push back from people in the industry about charging additional fees. Who's going to collect it and at what point? Plus, what kind of technology that could come up in the future?” Senator John Eichelberger (R, 40th District) says.
Senator John Eichelberger says that's the biggest issue facing legislators right now, but he agrees with the idea that there should be one flat fee, regardless of how you contact 9-1-1.
“I haven't seen any evidence to think that one method of communication should be any different than the other,” Senator Eichelberger says.
Currently the county is responsible for covering about 30 percent of the 9-1-1 budget. Local lawmakers say a deal on a new flat-fee surcharge is close and they hope to get it completed in the fall.

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