Fayette County to save $2M in 2 years by adding new 9-1-1 tax

Starting this fall, all property owners in Fayette County may be paying a brand new property tax to help fund operations of the county’s 911 center.

The proposed 911 millage rate, recommended by county staff, is two-tenths of a mill, which will equate to an additional $19 a year for a home with a fair market value of $250,000.

The tax would be assessed on every home in Fayette County, including its cities, as they are all served by the county’s consolidated 911 center.

The proposal has not been approved yet by any local government agency, as it was finalized in a meeting with the various agencies’ managers Friday, Fayette County Manager Jack Krakeel told the County Commission at its budget workshop Monday morning.

Currently the 911 center’s operations budget is funded on a per-capita basis by each individual municipality and the county. Funding is also realized from a $1 per line fee assessed to each cellular and landline phone in the county, officials said.

The proposed tax is the result of negotiations started by the municipalities, which wanted to ditch the current per-capita funding for the 911 center. The central dispatching office serves every public safety agency in the county, including all the cities.

Under the proposal, the county and municipalities will continue funding 911 center operations on a per-capita basis for two more years, transitioning to the new property tax revenues thereafter.

For the first two years of the new 911 property tax, the revenues will be used to pay off the capital improvements that heretofore have been funded exclusively by the county government.

Once the new property tax hits its third year, the tax funds will go toward 911 center operations, allowing the county and cities to keep more money in their general fund each year forward.

The county will continue to use revenue from the $1 phone bill surcharges even after the property tax is implemented.

Because the first two years of the tax will pay off the capital expenses that have been fronted by the county, it means the county ultimately will realize a $2 million savings the next two budget years since it would no longer be funding the remaining capital payments.

County staff is not recommending to roll back the general fund property tax millage rate, as those savings are being used to cover budget increases, said County Manager Krakeel.

Krakeel is not recommending an increase in the millage rate for the general fund. Because the property tax values are taking a dip again this year, that means the county will be losing about $2 million in revenue.

Once the first two years of collections are over, the county will be in a position to lower the property tax since it will be able to increase the per-line fee to $1.50 for all cellular phone lines in the county, Krakeel said. The fee could rise thanks to a new capability the 911 center will have in geographically pinpointing cellphone users who call 911.

BHH
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This is just another tax increase. There's no savings.

Double talk. Double talk.

If you really want a savings get rid of the 911 charges all together and quit subsidizing the phone company's caller ID service.

They make a fortune off this system and should provide it free to the dispatch services.

BHH
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I totally disagree with a change from per capita to millage rate

The cost of 911 has nothing to do with the value of any piece of real estate.

All 911 does is give "caller ID" to the 911 operators.

This is no special service any more.

It need not be funded by a separate tax at all.

It's just a dispatch system ie telephones, radios and operators.

How does that equate to a percentage tax on the value of a home?

Instead of this becoming increasingly more complicated and costly it should have to be funded from existing fire taxes and the other agencies that use it.

This should no longer be treated as a separately funded unit.

MYTMITE
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Ummm, isn't there already a tax on our phone bill for 911?

I seem to remember a "tax" or "charge" each month on my phone bill for 911 service. We are going to be taxed into oblivion if this continues. Every bill you get now has a mile long list of charges and taxes and you have to be a CPA to try to figure them out--and that is probably what the powers that be want--if you can't understand it you can't fight it, is their reasoning I guess. When will we say we have had enough and are not going to take it anymore??

PTC Observer
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911 Service

Let corporations to do this, those that want the service should pay for it. It should be for profit and compete with other like kind services, alarm companies, telephone companies, etc.

Why do we continue to let government do this to us? They don't do anything right and they have a monopoly on the service. Let's fire them.

roundabout
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Yes, tax increases........

.......sometimes ARE savings; sometimes they are detrimental to jobs~!
I know the tax on corporations causes jobs to go away! (so says Boehner).

It all depends upon the need, you see?

I pay about $25 a month now in phone fees for one thing and another--also for Internet fees.
They have found a treasure from folks who have phones, etc.

Now they even charge us for the rain that falls on property we own! Seems to me someone else causes that rain to fall---it is also not enough to keep the grass from dying!

What do you say that we tax us for air depending upon family weight, but put the tax on beer? Hell they won't care?

moelarrycurly
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roundatax

Why would you ever put out here that they can tax our air? That will now be in NEXT years budget, for cryin' out loud.

Can't tax beer, some local (ex)politcos have a PAC against that already, don't they?

roundabout
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MOE

I realize that they are idealess and could pickup on an idea, but they will go to any extreme to keep from cutting the budget and would stumble upon it eventually, maybe, anyway.

There is right now only one idea that they need---cut the budget. Only way to do that is a head count reduction of the same percentage of dollars as is short.

This crap of furlough days just slows everyone down instead of speeding them up!

I recall a few layoffs in my day in industry, and what would happen is that the boss would come around after the layoff and say, we are going to get it all done and on schedule by working much harder. We can even layoff a few more if you don't speed her up! Supper will wait! I ain't losing MY job!

It worked.

moelarrycurly
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round

What bothers me almost as much as this flat out tax hike (in multiple forms)is the fact that a local government manager (Krackhead) thinks he can put a spin on this that we are supposed to believe he is SAVING us tax money. Who does he think his audience is these days?

moelarrycurly
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JOHN MUNFORD-Was this story as difficult to write

as it is to read? Did Krakeel take classes from the feds on how to doublespeak budgets? Or did he take a secret trip to some foreign corrupt govt. to be tutored on this? If I read it again, I'm going to put boots on before I wade into this S*&^, and then take a shower afterward.

New property tax, increased cell phone tax, continue to use $1.00 phone surcharge, no rollback in millage rate to fund budget increases?

IS this what I am reading??? So WHO is saving two million a year here??? CERTAINLY NOT US WHO LIVE IN THIS COUNTY! What the ....?

Steve Brown, were you asleep during all this, or at the dog park?

(PS) John, I realize you have to write what is given to you, but c'mon here!

bad_ptc
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moelarrycurly, you missed a spot

"continue to use $1.00 phone surcharge"

That surcharge will increase to $1.50. A 50% to an existing tax.

What needs to be watched is that this 911 surcharge tax actually goes towards 911 expenses.

It has been a common city, county and state shell game as to where the "911 surcharge" funds actually end up. One would logically think that a "911 surcharge" would go towards the operational expenses of a 911 call center to pay for things like equipment upgrades and employees. NOT!

The state of New York actually renamed their 911 surcharge tax something else so they could divert the funds to anything they wanted.

Search the AJC for articles titled, "State has diverted millions in fees" or "Misused fees lead state to lose federal funds".

Above all, don't think for one minute that Fayette County hasn't already figured out where else they can spend the money other than 911 services.

If the county wants additional taxes for 911 service than somewhere in the law it should be clearly stated that the monies collected will ONLY be used for that purpose. If not then the county should call it “ADDITIONAL SLUSH FUND TAX” or the “WEST FAYETTE BYPASS CONTINGENCY FUND TAX” or the “WE KNOW HOW TO SPEND YOUR MONEY BETTER THAN YOU DO TAX”.

John, keep an eye on this.

moelarrycurly
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bad_ptc-you are so right

my mistake. Add to it the stormwater "fee" game we now all have to pay (play).