Lincoln Co. One Of Many OK Counties Facing 911 Funding Problem

Friday, January 11th 2013, 10:36 pm
By: News 9

Lincoln County is one of several Oklahoma counties dealing with severe 911 funding shortages.

Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Joe Wakefield says the shortfall is tied to the fact more and more people are giving up their landline telephones, and replacing them with cellphones. 

911 Emergency Operations get 15 percent of every basic phone bill from a landline phone each month. However, cellphones are only taxed a flat fee of 50 cents a month. 

"If we have a dollar more per cellphone, that's an additional $145,000 a year to come in," Wakefield said. 

Wakefield says Lincoln County has lost $40,000 in tax revenue in the past two years, because people are giving up their landline phones.  He says his 911 dispatch center in Chandler is working on a skeleton crew of five full-time dispatchers. 

He also says they need funding for eight dispatchers and that one of their dispatch computers broke down last month. Because he didn't have the money to buy a new one, the county has had to lease one.