City and Borough of Juneau
Finance Committee Meeting
Wednesday December 13, 2006, 5:00 p.m.
II. Roll Call
III. Approval of Minutes
October 4, 2006
IV. Juneau Tourism Survey Report
Susan Bell, Partner with the McDowell Group Research and Consulting Firm, will present the findings of the 2006 Juneau Tourism Survey.
V. E911 Surcharge
A proposal to increase the current E911 charge was presented to the Assembly Finance Committee (AFC) on October 4, 2006. Staff was recommending that the fee be raised from $0.75 per line per month to $1.90 per line per month. Our ability to levy a E911 surcharge is governed by State Statute. Legislative changes in 2005 allowed more flexibility in local governments to set surcharge rates. In addition, our current fee is inadequate to pay for our existing program and provides no funding for the necessary equipment upgrades and fee increases associated with the enhanced E911 service. The existing surcharge has not been adjusted since it was originally implemented in 1993. At the last AFC meeting, the committee directed staff to provide additional information breaking down the various components of the proposed fee increase.
Planned upgrades to the E911 system
Wireless carriers have been mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to provide call back number and caller location information to PSAPs (public safety answering points) for wireless calls. The CBJ is unable to comply with these regulations because of our inability to receive or process this information due to our outdated PSAP hardware and software. Wireless calls account for about 40% of our 911 call volume, yet our system does not supply call back numbers or locations for wireless callers. There is an expectation from the public that when a 911 call is made, it will be answered and the response will be to the correct location regardless of whether the call is made from a hardwire line or wireless phone.
There is a significant amount of new equipment and software needed to update the E911 system to provide call back number and caller location information to our PSAP for wireless calls. Initial costs are anticipated to be close to $400,000, with replacement for components varying from 3 to 8 years, requiring a $175,000 annual contribution to the equipment replacement reserve. This reserve had been significantly under funded in prior years due to the uncertainty of future needs. Maintenance and service contracts are estimated to cost $247,000 annually.
The total cost to operate the current E911 system is approximately $574,000 per year. This amount is partially funded through the current $0.75 per line per month surcharge ($328,000 annually). The remaining balance of $246,000 has been funded with general tax dollars. The total cost of operating the upgraded E911 system is estimated at $896,000, an increase of approximately $322,000. If the Committee decided that it would prefer to only fund the operating increase and keep the general tax dollar subsidy unchanged, $246,000, the fee would need to be increased by $0.66 per line per month for a total surcharge of $1.41 per line per month.
Included in the packet is a summary of current and future operating costs for the E911 system.
If the Assembly Finance Committee approves the fee increase, we recommend the fee increase take effect the first day of the month following adoption of a resolution.