Braxton Citizens' News, Opinion

9-1-1 fees…

I mentioned last week that I had some surgery scheduled for last Thursday. I was overly optimistic about my recovery time. The surgery went well, but I am pretty sore and have not resumed my normal activities as of this writing. In fact, Allison is bailing me out on this issue. I came in early but anticipate leaving around noon so she can finish up. 

I do want to begin what will undoubtedly be a topic here in the future. The County Commission has been batting around the idea of raising the 9-1-1 fees. I have voiced my opposition to this move privately but it’s time to take the fight public.

When I noticed last week that the Commission’s agenda contained an item to raise the fee from $2.10 to $3.10, I filed a Freedom of Information request for revenue for the past three years. My position is that the prolific use of cell phones more that makes up for the declining landline usage, and raising the income of the agency 50% is excessive.

I further believe that while the increase seems small it can add up quickly. I have three phone lines here at the office, one at the house and between me and the grandchildren 5 cell phones. While proponents could argue that “its only a $ a month” the fact is, its $8 a month or $240 a year.

I feel the increase adversely impacts small businesses and senior citizens and frankly I’m not convinced at this point that the raise is necessary.

When I got to the office for the first time since my surgery, Monday, the FOI information was waiting on me. I have reviewed it, but I need more time to digest the data. I also want to review what other counties are charging.

I appreciate the prompt response to my FOI request. Earlier last week I also spoke to Lisa Godwin. She explained that the money was needed to buy new equipment for the 9-1-1 center. I get that, I just need additional information… is the new equipment a Cadillac or Volks Wagon? etc.

Even though the Commission advanced the measure at Friday’s meeting, the public still has time for input. There has to be a public hearing. This time we should be able to have our voice heard.

Stay tuned….