In Colorado, the 9-1-1 network for Emergency Telephone service is governed by 57 different local jurisdictions or governing bodies corresponding closely with Colorado’s 64 counties. The El Paso-Teller County 9-1-1 Authority Board is the governing body for the Emergency Telephone Charge in El Paso and Teller Counties. The Board is comprised of nine members representing law enforcement and fire agencies, the two counties, the City of Colorado Springs and other municipalities and special districts within the two counties.
Each year the El Paso-Teller County 9-1-1 Authority Board is required by Colorado State Statutes to set the Emergency Telephone Charge for the coming year. The Board develops an annual budget based on the predicted revenues and anticipated costs, and approves the budget during a public hearing each November.
In order to fund the required technology, personnel and training for 9-1-1 service, everyone with telephone service pays a 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone Charge. These charges are applied on a per-line basis to monthly bills by all telephone companies providing landline, wireless, prepaid wireless or VoIP telephone service. Some providers identify this fee as a separate line item on the customer’s monthly bill, and others lump this charge into the broader package price.
The current 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone Charge for El Paso-Teller has remained constant at $.70 cents per telephone line since 2004. The approved increase changes that amount to $1.35 per phone line and is projected to generate $12.1 million dollars annually. The Board determined that the increase was necessary to continue to support, the training and certification programs for emergency dispatchers in public safety agencies within El Paso and Teller Counties. The Board also recognized the need for extensive upgrades in technology in order to meet expanding requirements for next generation 9-1-1, including text messaging and an ever-increasing volume of calls as a result of the proliferation of cellular telephones.
The El Paso-Teller County 9-1-1 Authority is now notifying telephone service providers via registered mail about the new approved rate. Telephone service providers will have 60 days to make the adjustments in their billing systems.