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Does it surprise anyone that we pay more for e911 service than is needed to operate the system?

    There are two issues that need to be immediately addressed by our
state legislature. Both issues have to be fixed immediately as they
are critical to protecting the lives and property of our residents who
are being held hostage in a bureaucratic game of “raising more
revenue”.

 

     The first issue is our emergency e911 dispatch system funding model
restrictions which caused the second, which is the critical
communications void now experienced by many of our local first
responder radio systems. This void is caused by the incremental and
uncoordinated move from the older UHF to modern trunked 800 MHz radio
systems for Fire, Medical, and Law Enforcement dispatching. The two
systems can’t talk to each other which creates and interoperability
emergency communications void until all are converted.

     Many of us do not agree with the Association of Central Oklahoma
Governments (ACOG) staff’s recommended solution that we need to
support the passage of HB 1992 “Public Safety Districts” which will
increase our property taxes 5 mills. A better and faster solution
would be for our state legislature to change the current e911
statutes, allowing the “governing bodies” of those emergency service
providers to fix the communications interoperability of our emergency
dispatch systems and upgrade our first responder radio systems using
the OVER-COLLECTION of e911 taxes.

Does it really surprise anyone that we pay more in taxes for the
current e911 service than is actually needed to operate that system?

Yes, even the ACOG paid staff estimates that only around 75% of
current tax collections are needed to operate the current system and
to allow for changing over to the “Next Generation 911” sometime in
the future. That number is probably closer to 50% since there is no
firm sunset date for the current e911 system, nor is there a required
date to implement the new “NextGen 911”. Any estimate in this regard
is pure speculation and bureaucratic conjecture intended to keep this
“open artery of the people’s life blood” as their newly acquired
metro-budget revenue stream.

 

     ACOG is over collecting and kicking back over a MILLION Dollars each
year to their member e911 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) municipalities (including the cities of Edmond & Guthrie), and, also squirrelling away just under 20 million dollars for the e911 operations budget. ACOG e911 has also hired a contractor, paying
them hundreds of thousands of dollars, to tell the board of directors
that they should keep stockpiling our money as a “buffer against the
unknown future cost of the system”, and most importantly, that the
Board needs to continue paying this contractor a nice portion of that
“buffer” for their self-serving advice. In agreeing to do this, the
ACOG e911 board of directors has outsourced their responsibility to
protect and serve the very people they were elected to represent,
giving over that responsibility to a hired $taff and contractor$.

   The taxpayers of Oklahoma do know that we do NOT need to pay more taxes
to fix this issue.

What we do need is a commonsense approach to
finding a fix, but, that seems to be a rare commodity these days with
the ACOG Board of Directors. Doing the right thing seems to be mostly
about padding their own City Budgets with those excess taxes. Please
contact your state representative and senator, tell them we need to
fix this issue without raising taxes. Tell them NOT to support next
year’s HB 1992 “Public Safety Districts” to increase our taxes! We
need to put those emergency taxes already collected to more efficient
use.

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