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Lack of Funding Puts Missouri Wireless 911 Service on Hold

August 14th, 2007 by mopns · No Comments

Show Me Institute policy analyst David Stokes, recently wrote a passionate piece on this issue.

By Ann Pierceall

Missouri is the only state in the country lacking a mechanism to fund wireless 911 service, and 17 counties in the state have no 911 service at all.

Efforts to bring such service to all of Missouri keep hitting a brick wall — funding. Voters have twice turned down ballot initiatives to fund 911 statewide.

State members of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) say a simple user fee — one that could be placed on tires or batteries, for example — doesn’t need voter approval. Such a fee could be tacked onto a cell phone owner’s monthly bill for wireless 911 service.

Missouri NENA President Mike Kimble said getting government officials to act on a measure is the group’s challenge. Legislation was readied for this past session but never made it to a vote.

“We’ve been told more than once … this is going to sound really bad … but to get on the radar screen, you have to have a tragedy. We are trying hard to get this fixed before there’s a tragedy,” Kimble said.

Kimble said there’s a second purpose in trying to get the word out about wireless 911 funding. Read more…

Related:

Missourinet audio: “Emergency Preparedness Officials Worry About Funding”“Emergency Preparedness Officials Worry About Funding”

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Tags: David Stokes · Show Me Institute

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  • 1 David Stokes // Aug 14, 2007 at 10:36 am

    The key part is at the end of the article where Speaker Jetton correctly calls for a more regional approach to this instead of too many small communities having their own 911 system (if they have anything at all). That more regional approach is what I have been advocating, and what I would be happy to pay a new tax toward. This issue beings up a whole ‘nother issue with Missouri having too many counties, but I’ll save that for another day.

  • 2 Rick Bailie // Aug 27, 2007 at 1:11 pm

    Now we’re really making sense. In small communities throughout the state, there are no emergency services because the towns are just too small to support them and too remote to share them with other communities. Sometimes they have a volunteer fire department staffed by untrained citizens and supported by an additional tax on the community. Now we want to tax them at the state level so they can call their meager emergency services to action through a state operated service 50 miles or more away. That’s a lot better than the siren on Main street that calls the volunteer into action wherever they are in town. Taxing cell phones is only another way for areas that have professional emergency services to fund them on the backs of those that do not.

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