Tax Declines As Cell Phone Use Expands

Franklin County expects revenue from the landline telephone tax to decline by almost 7 percent in the 2014 budget.

This is due to more people replacing landline phones with cellular phones.

To offset the decline, the county commission in 2010 raised the landline tax from 12 percent to 15 percent.

The decline in revenue is expected to continue in the future.

Most recently, the commission has discussed the possibility of charging agencies that use the county’s dispatching services. This will help generate more revenue to pay for equipment and dispatchers, county officials have said.

The landline tax provides 99 percent of the funding for the county’s 911 fund, which pays for emergency communication services.

Revenue from the telephone tax is budgeted to be $800,000 in 2014 compared to the $857,003 that the telephone tax is expected to generate in 2013.

The 911 fund has total expenditures of $1.26 million for 2014.

According to the county budget, there are numerous objectives for the 911 fund this year. Some of those include finalizing a microwave network for remote sites; working on a redundant network for public safety access points; and upgrading work stations for public safety access points.

Two budgets fall under the county’s 911 fund — 911 addressing and 911 dispatching.

The 911 addressing budget, which falls under the county commission, has expenditures of about $1 million for 2014, but $250,000 of that is a transfer to the county’s general fund.

Wages and benefits for the 911 addressing budget come to $131,363 while services, such as telephone and maintenance and repairs, are $412,530.

Equipment costs in the budget are $194,000.

But the amount of money budgeted for contractual services is $61,780, which is $40,220 less than in 2013. That reduction is due to a decrease in the contract to Zagarri Engineering for 911 services.

The 2014 911 dispatching budget, which falls under the sheriff, has expenditures of $253,044.

The dispatching budget covers the cost of the county’s communications personnel.

There are no significant changes in the 911 dispatching budget compared to 2013.