Steuben County address 911 surcharge concerns
BATH, N.Y. (WENY) -- Steuben County is sounding the alarm over 911 surcharge fees, and the way that New York State handles that money.
According to Steuben County, New York State collects more than 170 million dollars from cell phone customers in the Empire State every year. But Steuben County says more than 90% of that money is thrown into the state's general fund. That means only 10% is eventually doled out as grants to communication centers to help upgrade essential equipment.
The FCC also sent a waning to states regarding misuse of this money. FCC Commissioner Mike Rielly sent a letter to Governor Cuomo and two other Governors, saying the misappropriation of money damages the public confidence, and seriously reduces money for 911 call centers.
“The vast majority of funding did not go to 911 related purposes and a mere $10 million of the $75 million in the state?s various 'public safety grants' go to 911 centers," Rielly said.
“We urge the Governor and State Legislature to reconsider their flawed policy of keeping the vast majority of public safety telephone surcharges, as noted by the FCC Commissioner,” said county Manager Jack Wheeler. “Counties desperately need these funds to maintain their 911 systems and emergency communication equipment.”
Steuben County leaders are urging residents to contact their elected leaders to help restore 911 surcharges to 911 call centers.
- State Sen. Tom O?Mara, R-Big Flats: (607) 776-3201, (607) 735-9671, (518) 455-2091
- State Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, R-Corning (607) 776-9691, (518) 455-5791
- State Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes, R-Caledonia (585) 218-0038, (518) 455-5662
- State Assemblyman Joseph Giglio (716) 373-7103, (518) 455-5241