State Funding System For 911 Falling Woefully Short

From Potter County Today

911The Potter County Commissioners are working to draw attention to a growing crisis in the state’s funding formula for 911 services. Roots of the issue date back more than a decade, to a time when the state authorized counties to impose a $1.50 monthly fee on telephone land lines. The resultant revenue was supposed to cover the costs of emergency communications systems. Potter County, like its counterparts, built a series of towers and relay systems to extend 911 coverage. The county also partnered with neighboring Tioga County to share expenses for a centralized, two-county dispatch center.

Revenue from land lines has been steadily sinking at the same time costs for 911 services have risen. As a result, Potter and many other rural counties face a shortfall. All three commissioners were joined by Department of Emergency Services Director John Hetrick for a meeting with two representatives of the Pa. Emergency Management Agency. What followed was a communication to boards of commissioners across the state, urging support for a change in state policy to more fully fund 911. As a follow-up, Potter County Commissioner Susan Kefover and Elk County Commissioner June Sorg are headed to Harrisburg next week to emphasize rural counties’ plight in meetings with four members of the Senate Emergency Preparedness Committee.

Potter County Today is a timely information site courtesy of the Potter County Commissioners. Reprinted with Permission.

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