Help! 911 calling

North Dakota State Roundup

Published March 1, 2005  | March 2005 issue

Legislation is in the works to lower the monthly telephone tax that supports 911 services in the state. The legislation asks that the tax, assessed on both land and wireless lines, be cut from $1 per phone line to 75 cents. The issue was raised about four years ago, but no steps were taken at that time.

Opponents to the cut say the current tax doesn't even pay the emergency system's expenses, which a spokesman for the North Dakota Association of Counties noted were $12.7 million in 2004. Property taxes and federal grants covered the rest. They say that half of the revenue from the $1 tax is needed to continue a five-year, statewide plan to improve equipment. The "Wireless 911 Project" is intended to upgrade older 911 equipment that currently does not have the capability to locate mobile telephone users so that dispatchers can send emergency workers right to the caller.

Kathy Cobb