Courtesy Fox 2 News, St. Louis
OWENSVILLE, MO (KTVI) – The president of the Missouri 911 Director’s Association is hoping a funding problem for some Missouri 911 centers will be solved by state lawmakers in the closing days of the 2015 legislative session. Lisa Schlottach is hoping lawmakers pass a bill giving counties the authority to ask voters to approve a cell phone tax for 911 services.
Schlottach is also the manager of the Gasconade County 911 center. She says Missouri is one of the only states not charging a cell phone tax for 911 services. Schlottach says some counties rely on funding from taxes on land lines. As more and more phone customers dump land lines for cell phones, the funding shrinks.
“There is no way for 911 centers to recoup that money right now,” said Schlottach.
Some counties rely on sales taxes to fund 911 centers while others simply don’t provide service at all Schlottach wished Missouri had a more uniformed approach to funding for 911 services.
Scott Cason is the Executive Director of the Crawford County 911 Center. He says without a uniform approach, 911 calls in some of the more rural counties will end without help.
“They are not going to be able to find them,” said Cason. That’s because some 911 systems are not equipped to recognize where a call is coming from. Some counties have equipment that only recognizes where a land line call is coming from.
911 systems in the St. Louis are equipped to recognize where calls are coming from but Cason says those residents should remember they won’t have that type of service if they travel to more rural areas of the state.
“There are a lot of highways to travel where you call 911 and they’re not going to be able to pinpoint where you are,” said Schlottach.