Tax would increase phone bills
Voters in Izard County will decide Nov. 2 on a measure to implement Enhanced 9-1-1 in the county.
If approved the Enhanced 9-1-1 system would give emergency personnel the longitude and latitude from which a call originated. The current system has caller identification but it does not show every caller's identification, said Izard County Judge Eddie Cooper.
Money for the Enhanced 9-1-1 system will be raised through a telephone tax. Each phone line in the county will be charged $1.92 per month.
Cooper said it will take two to three years to raise enough money to implement the system. He said the system will cost approximately $1.5 million.
Part of the implementation process will include giving all houses and roads in the county physical addresses. A specially trained 9-1-1 dispatcher will be employed to run the system at the Izard County Sheriff's Office.
Cooper said fire code ratings would decrease for residents in the county. People living in an area where the fire code is a seven might go to a six. This reduction would save home owners $50 per year in house insurance, Cooper said.
Izard County Enhanced 9-1-1 committee member Jackie Copeland said Izard County residents who own a cell phone pay a 50-cent tax for Enhanced 9-1-1 service. Because the county doesn't have an Enhanced 9-1-1 system the money is not returned to the county, he said.
Copeland said if the system is approved, Izard County would receive between $6,000 and $12,000 in tax revenue that would otherwise be lost.
Izard and Fulton counties are two of the four counties in the state that do not have Enhanced 9-1-1. Eight other counties have passed Enhanced 9-1-1 measures but haven't fully implemented the systems.