911 Sales Tax Proposal For Texas County

By Linda Ong | long@kolr10.com

Published 04/04 2014 10:44PM

Updated 04/04 2014 10:46PM

Texas County, Missouri-- Wri-Tex E-911 receives anywhere between 1500 and 1800 calls a month.

Enhanced 911 allows the center to use a centralized system to dispatch local first responders to quickly get callers the help they need.

Dialing the numbers 9-1-1 becomes a lifeline in the most dire situations.

Within seconds, trained operators at Wri-Tex can identify a caller's name, phone number, and location.

Director of Wri-Tex Donna Robertson is said it's this enhanced 911 system that allows the center to quickly get callers the help they need. However, time is ticking before the center will run out of money.

"The funding came from the surtax of landlines, 15 percent," said Roberson. "Over the years, the landlines went away. Everybody went with cell phones."

A sales tax would prevent funds from running out.

"What we're asking for is a three-eighths of a percent sales tax to help fund the 911 to keep it as an enhanced 911," she said.

If the sales tax ballot doesn't pass, Wri-Tex will cease to exist. Then, the approximately 26,000 people in Texas County will be directed to the sheriffs office when they dial 9-1-1.

An alternative would be another 911 dispatch center within the county.

"We're not sure where that's going to be at yet,"she said. "But when they dial 9-1-1, it's not going to be a centralized dispatch where we've got everything on our fingertips."

Robertson said enhanced 911 affects the young and old, and without it, would put the county at a disadvantage.

"If this doesn't pass, we don't want to go back to the 20 years 911 system and not have the 911 enhanced system, no dispatcher, trained dispatcher that's going to help them 24/7," she said.

Robertson said the sales tax is the fairest way to allocate the costs-- it will be spread among residents and out-of-towners who come into the area.

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