One objection to 911 fee hike |

One objection to 911 fee hike


What: Douglas County commissioners meeting

When: 1:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Tahoe Transportation Center, 169 Highway 50, Stateline


Of 570 letters sent out to businesses to learn the impact of an increase in the 911 surcharge, the county received one protest.

Douglas County commissioners are scheduled to discuss a business impact statement for the increase at their meeting in Stateline on Thursday.

The first reading of the ordinance was approved in September and the second reading is scheduled to go before the board Nov. 1.

As proposed, the surcharge would increase by 50 cents for individual customers and $5 a month per trunk line.

Due to the limited response, Emergency Communications Director Ron Sagen is asking that commissioners find there is no significant economic burden on businesses.

The only business filing an objection to the increase was Bodywise Physical Therapy, which has 10 office phone lines.

Objections were due to the county on Oct. 8.

Sagen said the current rate is insufficient to operate the county’s 911 system, which without it will require increased subsidies from the general fund.

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.

The cost of the 911 system is $398,090 per year with a possible 5 percent increase from the phone company.

“Our current revenue source provides $149,000 per year, leaving an increasing deficit each year,” Sagen said. “I’m thinking some people believe we would have a massive surplus. That isn’t the case, we would generate approximately $48,910 the first year in surplus, then it reduces with the projected increases from our local dial-tone provider. Regardless of the surplus amount, by law we cannot use those funds for anything except for maintaining, enhancing or improving the emergency 911 system.”

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.

Sagen said next generation 911 will take up part of the increase, which includes texting and video to 911.