Wednesday, May 27, 2020
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Fentress County Passes Resolution Supporting 911 Surcharge Increase

Fentress County supports the state’s effort to increase the E-911 surcharge to $1.50.

County commissioner’s approved a resolution Monday asking lawmakers to support the increase. County Executive Jimmy Johnson said raising the rate from $1.16 would be beneficial to his county.

“Because it brings that much more revenue into the 911 facility. That revenue helps pay for a lot of the equipment that is very much needed,” Johnson said. “That’s how they get the biggest part of their revenue. There’s an amount on your phone bill that helps finance new equipment and personnel into the 911 office.”

The Tennessee Emergency Communications Board (TECB) voted in favor of increasing the surcharge during a meeting last month. Board Member Steve Martini said during the meeting the issue can’t be put off any longer for the sake of struggling districts across the state.

“We can kick this can down the road for months or years and study financials, structure, and we’ve done that. A lot of that’s been done and we’ve seen a lot of that,” Martini said. “$1.50 was deemed acceptable 20 years ago and 54 more times by this board in that time since then. So I think the need for the rate increase is more than clear.”

Tennessee Emergency Number Association President David Alexander previously stated that at least nine Upper Cumberland districts and/or counties have expressed support for the increase.

The new surcharge will not be implemented until passed via joint resolution by state lawmakers. State lawmakers decreased the surcharge from $1.50 back in 1998.