Wednesday, September 12, 2018
The Sentinel-Record Sept. 10 article on the 911 emergency telephone service is troubling, the state wants to prioritize more funding. According to the state's Next Generation 911 Plan, the state has 127 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), this high number is wasteful. Reducing the number will increase efficiencies, improve public safety and reduce costs. Fees should not be increased until reducing the number of PSAPs has been accomplished.
Garland County and Hot Springs are a prime example of the problems encountered with consolidation efforts, as the city has been adamant in their refusal to consolidate with GC. Hot Springs city has imposed for two years a special property tax that is wholly unnecessary to fund their unnecessary system and recently revealed they erred in their cost estimate and now need twice as much as originally estimated. The city must consolidate with the GC 911 system.
The article reported County Judge Davis said the county is subsidizing the 911 operating system $850,000 out of the GC General Fund. An examination of the 2018 GC Budget doesn't support his statement, as only $161,000 is budgeted to be transferred in 2018 from the GCGF into the $934,000 operating budget for 911 ($275,000 from 911 fees and $550,000 funding from the Commercial Radio Service Board (CMRS)).
Adding the general fund transfer to the $825,000 comprises more than 95 percent of the total operating budget after subtracting the beginning fund balance. The diminished landline revenue and the increased cellphone revenue essentially offset each other as the difference is only negative $11,000 from the previous year budget. Until the inefficiencies are wrung out of the statewide 911 systems, no increase is justified, the state's priority should be reducing the PSAPs, not additional funding.
Editorial on 09/12/2018
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