Dauphin County Commissioners say State lawmakers need to take action on a growing funding crisis with the 911 emergency system. They passed a resolution urging legislators to change the way counties are reimbursed for 911 dispatching.
Commissioners say State Lawmakers need to make 911 emergency funding a top priority.
County Emergency Management Director, Stephen Libhart says, "This is an essential public service and adequate funding for it should not be borne by the taxpayers."
Libhart says in 1990, the State made counties responsible for 911 dispatching. The system required phone companies to pay counties up to $1.50 per month for every landline.
Commissioner Mike Pries says, "Back in 2007, we paid $600, in 2014 that price has increased 400,000% to $3 million, so the numbers aren't adding up."
The funding crisis can be blamed on the way people contact 911 now. Most people don't use landlines. Instead, in an emergency, people use a cell phone and all of those wireless fees don't go back to the county.
Libhart says, "We're losing $1.25 on an equal share basis. One landline leaves and a new wireless is added."
Commissioners say instead of wireless fess going directly to counties like landline fees, the money goes to the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. PEMA withholds 2% for administrative costs, which equal more than $2 million a year.
Pries says, "We're relying on Governor Wolf to step up and take the lead here on behalf of the Commonwealth and make sure this outdated legislation is updated."