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Your View: Calling for help

Friday, January 18, 2008

For many years your local 9-1-1 Communications Center has been there when a call for help was made. Our team has strived to bring the very best services possible in providing that vital link between you and the response of our emergency services. We have been there through tragedy, storms, turmoil and controversy, always standing ready.

Our 9-1-1 operation continues to provide you with the best service in a cost efficient manner. Currently, our funding is derived from a fee on your traditional telephone service. In the past, this was sufficient to continue maintaining a level of service that you had come to expect. Through the years we have stayed abreast of constantly changing regulations, improved our operations and strengthened staff to provide services.

As with all businesses, yes 9-1-1 is a business, we must be mindful of our revenue and expenditures in order to continue to provide services. The decline in the traditional telephone services has had a dramatic reduction in our revenue. We have adjusted our operations to ensure we keep our revenue and expenditures in balance. However, there are other forces at work beyond our control that are tipping that balance upside down.

The explosion of non-traditional telephone services such as cell phones, Voice over the Internet, and others, has put additional burdens on our staff and surpassed our current technology. The rapid migration to non-traditional telephones services has also increased our expenditures. Yet, because of current Missouri statutes there is no funding mechanism to pay for the additional services required. With perpetual technology changes in our society, our cost to keep pace continues to increase. With the absence of change in statutes, our revenue continues to decline. If the current paradigm continues we will have no choice but to reduce services or close the operations all together.

9-1-1 needs your help. The Communications Center currently receiving emergency funding from county revenue but that can not continue. The Center is taking funds from other areas not responsible for this dilemma. We need you to contact your Representative and Senator and encourage them to support a statewide funding source for 9-1-1 that includes non-traditional telephone services. Ask you Representative and Senator to keep in mind; this is not a local issue.

Non-traditional telephone services are not connected to your home, they are mobile and provide services anywhere in the state. Wherever you travel, you expect and should receive the same access to 9-1-1 that you have with your traditional telephone.

Please help us to help you. If you would like to see our operations and learn more about this issue, please call Joel Evans, Scott County Emergency Management Director at (573)545-3549.

Thank you for your continued support,

Scott County Emergency Management and Scott County Communications Center

The addresses for the local representatives are:

Senator Jason Crowell, State Capitol Building Room 323, Jefferson City, MO, 65101; e-mail link: www.senate.mo.gov/webmail/mail_form.aspx; fax: 573-

522-9289.

Rep. Steve Hodges, District 161, Missouri House of Representatives, 201 W. Capitol Avenue, Room 103BA, Jefferson City, MO, 65101; e-mail: steve.hodges@house.mo.gov; fax: 573-522-6087.

Rep. Ellen Brandom, District 160, Missouri House of Representatives, 201 West Capitol Ave., Room 235 BA, Jefferson City, MO, 65101; e-mail: ellen.brandom@house.mo.gov; fax: 573-522-4627.