Traverse City Record-Eagle

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March 25, 2014

Grand Traverse 911 surcharge most likely will increase

TRAVERSE CITY — The price of public safety is about to tack a few more dollars onto Grand Traverse County residents’ annual phone bills .

A county commission committee unanimously approved a 911 surcharge increase during a recent meeting.

The monthly surcharge county residents pay on their phone bills will nearly double from 66 cents to $1.22, beginning in July.

The increase includes a 34-cent jump that results from the conclusion of a longstanding legal dispute between the county and the Michigan Public Service Commission — which sets 911 surcharges in the state — and a 42-cent increase that county commissions can create by a resolution allowed by state law, according to county records.

County Commissioner Larry Inman said he voiced the only opposition to the 42-cent increase. Inman said he’s fine with a higher rate, but he wanted to hold a public hearing on what amounts to a tax increase for county residents with phones.

“I don’t want to be looked at as jamming something through without notifying the public about a tax increase,” he said.

911 Center Director Jamel Anderson said the center has long needed updated gear, including a new phone system valued at about $250,000.

Anderson said 911 officials also are pursuing grant money to help fund capital purchases.

”Depending on how that turns on, we might be able to get more bang for our buck, so to speak,” she said.

The increase will go before the commission for final approval Wednesday.

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