Being able to call 911 in an emergency can be life or death. But this vital service doesn’t come without a cost. The Kodiak Island Borough Assembly discussed this issue at last night’s regular meeting.
The assembly considered a resolution to increase the surcharge the Borough levies on phone lines to support the local enhanced 911 system. It’d raise the cost from .75 cents a month to $ 2.00.
It would also expand taxes on phone lines to include cell phones and landlines that are currently overlooked. Assemblywoman Rebecca Skinner questioned Michael Powers, the borough manager, about who’s currently footing the bill for the 911 system.
Skinner: “So currently, only 486 and 487 phone numbers are being charged.”
Powers: “That is correct. Any additional landline prefixes that have been added, in theory, should be charged, but that is not what our resolution says.”
Even though the borough charges for the local 911 system, the funds go to the city of Kodiak because they operate it. The city asked for this increase. Over the course of the discussion many assembly members said that they had not received enough information from the city and that they wanted more. Assemblyman Larry LeDoux said the borough owes the public the full information about how the increase would cost and benefit the community.
“ I am not against raising it if it means we’re going to improve the safety of our [populace]. I am against making a decision that takes money out of someone’s pocket when we don’t have enough information to make that decision.”
The assembly chose to postpone their discussion on this issue until the next regular meeting. That gives the city of Kodiak a chance to answer their questions about this resolution.