PDT Staff Writer
On Tuesday the Scioto County Commissioners received notice from the Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUCO) that the county would be receiving $155,277.78 from the 911 surcharge.
The 911 surcharge has been imposed on wireless customer’s bills since 2005. When first enacted, the charge was 32 cents per line. In 2008 the fee was reduced to 28 cents and with the start of 2012 the fee was again reduced to 25 cents.
According to the PUCO the surcharge exists to help communities around Ohio to establish and upgrade wireless 911 services.
“I think every couple of years, the legislature contemplates totally eliminating it. Which I think would be a major mistake,” said Skip Riffe, Chairman of of the Scioto County Commissioners.
He said the funds generated are directed to the Sheriff’s Department for 911 operations. The funds received Tuesday will help fund county 911 services during 2013.
According to Todd Miller, Chief Deputy with the Scioto County Sheriff’s Department, this funding only covers a portion of costs related to 911 operations.
“This funding is used exclusively for 911 services, anytime we have to upgrade computers or anything like that. The funding is also used for software updates. It’s all software based as far as mapping and that continually gets updated,” Miller said. “It’s very expensive to keep all of this up to date. It’s just like any technology based system, they are always improving it and systems are always getting outdated so, it’s a continual upgrading process every few years.”
The states 911 surcharge was reduced according to the PUCO by Sub House Bill 360 and its companion provisions in House Bill 472.
According to the PUCO, “the bill also establishes a Prepaid Wireless 911 Surcharge of .50 percent at point-of-sale to become effective Jan. 1, 2014. Prior to this date, Prepaid Wireless Service Providers are expected to collect and remit the surcharge pursuant to one of the two methods set forth in the bill. This bill was signed by Governor John Kasich on December 20, 2012 and became effective upon signing.”
For more information about the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio visit, www.puco.ohio.gov.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org.