The Chairman of the Senate Committee that has the House’s 911 funding legislation says there are some things that need to be shaken out in that bill before it can advance.
The proposal would let counties ask voters to establish a monthly fee of up to $1.50 no devices that can call 911 except for prepaid phones and service, which would be subject to a 3-percent sales tax.
Senator Brad Lager (R-Savannah) thinks those amounts are too high.
“Missouri would go from not having a 911 tax to being the highest in the country,” says Lager of the 3-percent rate. “I don’t think I’m comfortable with that move.” Lager isn’t sure what rate he thinks would be appropriate.
He also wants legislation to provide a financial incentive for call centers to consolidate.
“I have a couple in my district,” says Lager, “that are actually in, for all practical purposes, the same city block. Then a third one … like four blocks away. Taxpayers are having to fund every one of those.” Lager says taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for three call centers within four blocks of one another.
House sponsor, Representative Jeanie Lauer (R-Blue Springs) says it is very difficult to mandate consolidation because of the differences among counties, but the bill does include one incentive.
Grants would be one of the things proceeds from the proposal would support, to pay for implementation of 911 service and other needs. Lauer says any counties who go to the pool for the grant money would have to have some plans for consolidation.
“It may be where they actually consolidate or it could just be where they go out for contract to another Public Safety Answering Point,” says Lauer.
Lager also dislikes that the legislation would allow a portion of the money it would generate to go to purposes other than 911, specifically poison control.
Both lawmakers are confident that a solution can be found by the end of session in a little more than a month.
The House legislation is HB 1573.