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County approves 911 surcharge hike

Landline charge will increase by $1.76

By Jeremy D. Wells

Carter County Times

If you have a land line telephone in Carter County, you’re going to see a small increase in the fees added onto your bill in the near future.

Carter County fiscal court, meeting in special session last week, approved the second reading of an ordinance that increases the 911 surcharge on land lines. The ordinance sets the new rate at slightly more than double the existing rate, raising it from the current $1.74 to $3.50 – an increase of $1.76 – putting Carter County’s 911 rates in line with surrounding counties.

E911 director Joe Lambert told the court that rates in surrounding counties start at $3.50, with some as high as $5 per billing cycle.

Money raised from the increase will be earmarked for communication infrastructure improvements, Lambert told the court. Contact via radio can be very important for 911 dispatchers, especially if they need to direct first responders to a location that isn’t displayed on a map, or that might be on a property near an address, but not inside the home. In those instances, Lambert has explained, being able to relay information from the caller to the first responders can be imperative. Making improvements to the radio infrastructure, specifically, can help in those situations, as well as situations where cell phone service is not available.

Though the increase passed, it wasn’t a unanimous decision. The magistrates voted 4-1 to pass the initiative, with district 2 magistrate Derrick McKinney voting no and all other magistrates voting aye on the measure.

McKinney and district 3 Millard Cordle previously voiced their dissent on the motion when it was brought before the new court during their first regular session, in January. They both voted no on the first reading of the measure during that meeting, however Cordle sided with the rest of the court on second reading.

In other action the court accepted the clerk’s quarterly report and approved miscellaneous claims and transfers from the treasurer’s office.

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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