ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) – Cell phones are causing massive drops in revenue for Missouri 911 call centers because land lines, which many people no longer have, provide crucial funding for the centers through a land line tax.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Department 911 call center needs four more dispatchers, but they, like many other call centers across Missouri, are seeing a drastic drop in funding.
“This part of the business is very important and we don’t want to do something or have something that happens that puts the citizens in danger,” said Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke.
In Franklin County, revenue has dropped from $1.1 million dollars in 2011 to $692,000 in 2014. One proposed solution is to consolidate the call centers in Pacific, Missouri and two other towns with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department’s 911 call center, but not many people support the idea.
“Some legislators wanted consolidation with dispatching centers and that was the buzzword, but certainly no one wants to give up their little kingdoms,” said Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer. “And I understand that. What I think we are going to do is just start charging these agencies a fee for the services we provide.”
Franklin County’s call center dispatches for 16 other agencies free of charge and officials say the sharply declining revenue will force them to make a difficult choice, but so far, no official plan has been approved.