Discussion on Proposed 911 Surcharge Continued at Last Night’s Borough Work Session

Man holding phone. Martin Cathrae/ Flickr

Mitch Borden/KMXT

At last night’s work session, the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly looked at a proposed increase to a surcharge on local phone lines that supports the region’s enhanced 911 system.The assembly had postponed the discussion at their last regular meeting due to a lack of information on this topic.

Currently, the surcharge is $0.75 and this proposal would increase it to $2.00. It would also expand the phone lines that are charged, to include more land lines and cell phones. Assemblywoman Rebecca Skinner thinks this increase is too high especially when there are still so many unknown factors.

For instance, according to Skinner, the assembly doesn’t know how many cellphones there are in the borough. So, they can’t be sure how much revenue will be generated by this tax. This is one of the reasons Skinner said she’ll be proposing an amendment at the next regular meeting to increase the surcharge to only $1.00. This way the borough can see how much money they make and then assess the situation.

Assemblyman Larry LeDoux, along with some other assembly members, didn’t seem enthusiastic about Skinner’s idea.

“I’m comfortable with he $2.00. I’ve worked through it. I’ve thought of. What Rebecca said makes sense. But it’s a matter of public safety and the people in the city voted for me to be concerned with public safety as well as the people outside the city limits.”

He thinks that if $2.00 dollars is too much, they can always go back and lower the tax later. Even though, he said, he’s never heard of that happening in the “history of government.”

The assembly will be voting on whether to move this proposal forward at their next regular meeting.

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