Tracking code caldwell guardian

Monday, September 5, 2011

Commishes Meet Tuesday Sept. 6th To Raise 911 Fees by 80%

THE GUARDIAN could not help but notice the agenda item on the Canyon County Commissioner's Agenda for Tuesday 9/6/2011 to discuss raising the E 911 fees by $1/month per phone line and cell phone.  You can look forward to this fee accounting for $2.25 of your phone bill each month if approved by our Commishes.

All of this sounds innocuous on the surface but when you figure the E911 fees have been going on for years and years and can only be used for equipment purchases.  When do the endless upgrades in equipment stop? Millions and millions have been collected and spent on E 911 equipment upgrades.

We all want to be safe and have a working system but where is the accountability for all the changes made to these systems at taxpayer expense.  THE GUARDIAN would like to know the justification of this latest round of E 911 tax increases on all of our phone lines.   The upgrades and money spent on new and improved 911 dispatch systems has been a never ending exercise and it is time for some feedback to taxpayers on why we are all facing a 80% increase in this tax from those who are spending all this cash on 911 systems to what advantage to taxpayers.

The following is from WIKIPEDIA ON E-911:
Fees vary widely by locality. They may range from around $.25 per month to $3.00 per month, per line.[25] The average wireless 9-1-1 fee in the United States, based on the fees for each state as published by the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), is around $.72. Since monthly fees do not vary based on the customer's usage of the network, the fees are considered, in tax terms, as highly "regressive", i.e., the fees disproportionately burden low-volume users of the public switched network (PSN) as compared with high-volume users. Some states cap the number of lines subject to the fee for large multi-line businesses, thereby shifting more of the fee burden to low-volume single-line residential customers or wireless customers."


  1. G.A. says...

    I am actually pretty ticked off at the "add-on" things on my phone bill already. All the crap they add on is now over $10/month and I can't get anyone to give me an explanation I can understand for all this blatant robbery.

    Already getting millions for upgrades to 911 equipment the people running this program want even more? Please! At least give me an explanation I can understand on why it is necessary to pay even more than we already have extracted. Where does this stop?

  2. It stops when all the centers merge into one. It stops when these wasteful mayors stop demanding their own centers when we already have one. It will stop when the city's stop siphoning money off the existing E-911 taxes to feed their unnecessary centers. In a correct system there is one center, not multiple centers competing for resources. In this system there is no possible answer but waste. Tommy boy should close his center and merge just like everyone else. The commisshes should own up and adequately fund the dispatch center instead of billing everyone else.

  3. It isn't how much or how little is collected via all the mechanisms of fees, taxes, levy's etc. It is how poorly and inefficiently the money gets spent and the low regard those spending it have for where the money comes from. It isn't just local government but government at all levels guilty of taxpayer abuse. I would add schools to the mix as well. Textbooks are a great example the Arabs discovered Algebra centuries ago, Calculus is 14th century math, yet across the board we spend millions on new text books on concepts, axioms, theorems and postulates that have not changed for hundreds of years. Waste, fraud and abuse permeates government and why elected and appointed officials get away with it on a daily basis disturbs me greatly.

    I would love to hear someone in government step up and say ..." you know the new widgets are very nice but what we have works and we'll keep using it until it becomes inappropriate to keep repairing it". Cost benefit analysis is not something government does to justify buying new things and capital equipment. And sadly taxpayers do little to stop what has become common practice with taxpayer dollars.

  4. Happiness is being content with what you have. Something people in government who spend our money recklessly have yet to figure out. There are plenty of examples and this pending increase in 911 fees is just one more example.

  5. Here's the deal on the extra buck for all phone lines: The Commishes want to use the cash from E-911 fees to fully fund equipment as well as pay the wages for the manpower for the system. The extra buck will have to survive the test of the Idaho Legislature. There is about $700k sitting as excess cash after this latest round of upgrades to 700MGhz along with several new towers. The County collects about $90,000.00 per month with a like amount going to Nampa for their dispatch program.

    It makes absolutely no sense to have two dispatch centers for Canyon County with Nampa not willing to play nice with others. They like costing everyone more money and want to keep it that way. Between the county and Nampa $2MM a year is skimmed from phone lines and cell phone owners.

    Frustration on the part of the Commishes with Nampa was evident at this meeting. Idaho Assoc. of Counties Chairman Dan Chadwick present at the meeting was in support of a single dispatch center and echoed the efficiency of having one dispatch center.

    This opportunity will be discussed further at the Idaho Assoc. of Counties meeting in Moscow later this year along with how to extract another buck from all of us for each phone line and cell phone to be spent on wages for 911 staffing costs via the Idaho Legislature.

    Fire Chief Wendelsdorf was not there but was quoted as saying he was in favor of simply raising taxes across the board to pay for the system and staffing. There is a cap on property taxes the Commissioners are worried about bumping into and they have lowered the County budgets each year for the last four years.

  6. I think you have hit it on the head exactly Paul. There is plenty of blame to place on all of them.Our commissioners, although they have lowered taxes, should not have made cuts to the dispatching center and then tried to pass the expense along to the cities. Mayor Dales insistence in wanting control over all things has stubbornly refused to cooperate with others. If Nampa merged and forfeited the 911 fees as it should be, they probably would not have to raise any taxes at all. If the commishes think they can raise the E911 tax and use it to pay salaries for dispatchers they got another thing coming. The laws pertaining to use of those funds changed 5 years ago prohibiting use for those purposes. We the taxpayers need to replace this group with responsible leaders who know what they are doing.

  7. You know, one has to think here. What would happen if some kind of serious emergency happened here, and our emergency services got deluged with emergency calls. Maybe having two dispatches is a good idea. Maybe they are just updating everything in case our local area needs to make a 911 call to state, regional, national, or military resources to send their assets and come to our rescue.

  8. I attended the meeting and the frustration of Nampa not willing to consolidate dispatch is part of their problem they voiced at this meeting. High praise for the efforts made by the City of Caldwell to consolidate were also on the record of this meeting.

    All dispatch services in Ada County are done by the Sheriff. All dispatch of ISP statewide is done in Meridian. Nampa is a shining example of zero cooperation and making any attempts to save taxpayers money. It will take citizens of Nampa putting pressure on the Mayor and City Councilors to effect any changes. Higher and higher taxation to stroke the ego of elected officials has to come to an end at some point in time.

  9. So how do we force the great city of Nampa to play nice with others? You can't. Mayor Dale can do what he wants because he was elected by the majority (Peopole like me) and is not going to pander to the minority.(people like you) Get a grip! I am glad none of you has a say in the running of this city because you would drive it into an economic tailspin in a hurry. Tom Dale deserves your thanks, not the mindless drivel you have been spouting.

  10. Hate to tell you this but you are still in the minority. turnout at elections suggest the majority just don't care and don't bother to vote.

    The "majority" is made up of the apathetic segment. I doubt we will see 20% of registered voters bother to vote this next election. Elections are minority ruling those who can't be bothered to vote.

  11. Then why is Tom Dale still in office? Hello, Majority has spoken, accept it.

  12. Everyone knows that Nampa city government has been turned on its head since 2002. The local banks, business establishments, religious organizations, corporarations, and whatever; have seized control over the finances of the city. The majority is paying for the lifestyles of those in the aforementioned areas that I am refering to, because the city is in debt to them. The majority of the people have lost their rights in this town, because we can't vote on some of the decisions that are being made. It is a shame that real city government has no control any more. Nampa is a better town to move out of then into, it is not a nice town anymore.

  13. But you are going to have such a beautiful police station and 'ahem state f the art dispatch center. Why move now?

  14. Upgrades are a necessary evil. The FCC never mandated a digital network, typical of Idaho politicians there was a HUGE misunderstanding. The Federal folks still want to build a nationwide "interoperable network" but no one wants to bid on radio spectrum part D as public safety is referred to.

    Digital radios cost more and are prone to a shorter lifespan than there analog counterparts. each handheld for the "digital" cost between $3,000 and $5,000 each. Analog P-25 compliant radios cost around $1,000 each. Also the cost of maintenance is very high for digital versus analog from handhelds to towers and even dispatch centers equipment.

    What is not being mentioned is the fact small communities like Parma and Wilder cannot afford these equipment upgrades and the grant money is all but exhausted. So, guess who buys their equipment. Canyon received an equipment grant for initial purchase only. Nothing for ongoing maintenance, etc. Lt. Todd Herrera, CCSO was quoted as saying "we can talk to anyone." Uh, no you cannot - Oregon is still VHF, so is Nevada, so much for interoperability. Also do a search for P-25 problems nationwide. Most Fire Departments and Ambulance services are not switching to digital and there was an article in the Idaho Statesman on this.

    ISP is dispatched by two dispatch centers. One in Coeur D' Alene and the other in Meridian. Sadly, the one in Meridian is very much understaffed.

    Oh and let's not forget every patrol car now days needs to have a computer, camera and other fancy electronic equipment in it (otherwise someone couldn't do their job) and this all adds $$$$$$ and has a lifetime of maybe what 2-years.

    DO - Twin Falls

  15. Ask someone who lives hereThursday, September 15, 2011 4:18:00 PM

    Another person who thinks he knows something...
    The police and Fire agencies in Canyon County haven't had the problems you speak of. Why? Because they did their research first, worked cooperatively and planned the upgrade in stages, each building upon the last. They even erected a few more repeater towers along the way. Oh and by the way, yes they can talk to analog radios, if you were actually in the know you would have known that. Sorry Twin Falls is having so many problems. Whether you like it or not all police and fire have been forced to do this i.e. you don't get a choice. If Wilder and Parma can't afford to equip their officers, you just made another good point as to why this county needs to go Metro.

  16. Can someone clarify why Caldwell spent nearly $800K on all the cell towers all over town on a system from Sun Micro Systems that never worked from day one and when it was up it only had 50% reliability for up time? They carefully blundered their way forward with this project when no other agency wanted any part of what was perceived as obsolete before the first tower got erected. One of the towers was next door to former Comm. Matt Beebe where Sylvan and Maple intersect. I do see some electronic gadgets hanging off the towers these days but the whole system on the ground went to the electronic wasteland. Not even Homeland Security who funded this would admit any screw-ups happened with taxpayer money. Each patrol car had to have a $5,000 router to work and then it only worked within line of sight to the towers.

  17. I heard they were trying to set up some kind of wi-fi to cover the whole city so they didn't have to pay for the more expensive mobile service. Is that true? Mobile service isnt that expensive. Seems really wasteful to try and duplicate infrastructure that is already in place.

  18. I heard the same thing. They were trying to get off cheaper on their data plan for their car computers than what the sherrifs department was doing but their little plan didn't quite work out from what I hear.


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