The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly recently voted on a surcharge increase to Kodiak’s enhanced 911 system. The assembly previously postponed the issue because it felt they didn’t have enough information.
The replacement and operation of a new system is what spurred the motion to increase the surcharge. Since the city of Kodiak operates the 911 systems, they get the revenue generated by this tax. But the borough assembly has to approve any increase.
Many assembly members were skeptical of the cost of the new system. At the meeting, Lieutenant Tim Putney of the Kodiak Police Department said Kodiak has to live with the expense. Especially, when they’ve been using an outdated system that’s gone without regular maintenance for years.
“Since we’ve been obsolete for 15 years and haven’t had to pay any maintenance, annual maintenance for E-911 system. You know, that’s something, that’s a cost we’ve never had before. I had sticker shock too when I saw how much it was going to be a month, but that’s just, that’s world we live in with technology I guess.”
The motion would raise the surcharge on phone lines from $.75 to $2.00. Some of the assembly thought the increase was too much, but Assemblyman Matthew Van Dale said he’s not willing to penny pinch when it comes to the safety of the community.
“If the unthinkable happens, and I have to pick up this phone I want to know it’s going to work and that I can get the help that I need or that my family needs or that a neighbor needs. And it’s, you know, Frankly, two bucks a month that’s less than a cup of coffee.”
The assembly eventually did vote to increase the surcharge, but it still won’t cover the entire estimated cost of the new E-911 system, according to the city of Kodiak. Michael Powers, the borough manager, says the borough will not pay any subsidy needed to cover the remaining costs.