County approves 50 cents for 911
The first reading of an ordinance that will increase the monthly 911 surcharge to 75 cents per month passed 4-1 on Thursday.
Douglas County Commissioner Dave Nelson said that if not for the taxpayer’s pledge he signed before he was elected he would voted for the measure.
“I do consider it a tax, but I think this would be an exception to my signing the next no-tax pledge,” he said. “It’s public safety, and something I should be voting for.”
Commissioner Larry Walsh, who also signed the pledge, voted in favor of the measure, pointing out that he felt the surcharge was more akin to a utility rate than a tax.
“I don’t see it as a tax,” Walsh said. “I see it as a rate increase just like sewer or waater. This is a life safety issue I don’t think my constituents would want me to vote against this.”
County 911 supervisor Ron Sagen said the increase would amount to $9 per device increase.
The county was charging a quarter per line and $2.50 for a trunk like. Trunk lines will go up to $7.50 under the ordinance.
The surcharge is one of three sources of revenue for the county’s 911 system, including a property tax approved in 1990 and charging other entities for service.
“The 25-cent surcharge doesn’t fund the 911 system from the very beginning,” Sagen said in July.
Sagen said the fee raises $127,000 but just the 911 telephone system alone costs $174,000.
The 911 fund is projected to lose $101,272 this fiscal year. The increase will stabilize the fund and prepare for additional costs over the next four years.
Alpine County, East Fork Fire District, Tahoe Douglas Fire District and the Washoe Tribe all use the county’s 911 dispatch system in addition to the sheriff’s office.
Should the tax rate ultimately be approved, it would bring in $447,000 a year to the system.
In 2017, the Nevada Legislature approved letting the counties increase their 911 surcharge to $1.
The surcharge is based on each telephone number assigned to a customer.