The Franklin County Commission Tuesday set the countywide emergency 911 tax at its current 15 percent rate for 2013.
Fifteen percent is the highest the county can set the tax, which is applied only to landline telephones.
Cellphone users in Missouri pay no such tax for 911 service. Missouri is the only state in the country which doesn’t levy a tax on cellphones for 911.
Police, fire and ambulance service providers in the county have discussed going to voters for a countywide 911 sales tax, which would allow for the elimination of the current landline telephone tax.
The proposal is contingent on a strategic plan, currently being developed by Sheriff Gary Toelke and others involved with the county’s emergency communications management board.
Part of that plan calls for all of the county’s four current public safety answering points, or PSAPs, to work together through a fifth virtual PSAP which would be utilized to better allocate calls.
Currently in the county, all 911 calls from cellphones — which amount for roughly 70 percent according to Interim 911 Director Vince Zagarri — are routed directly to the county’s PSAP at the sheriff’s department.
Those calls then have to be rerouted to the other three PSAPs in Sullivan, Pacific or Washington if callers require aid from departments served by that PSAP.
Some emergency response agencies in Franklin County are dispatched out of PSAPs in other counties.
There was no discussion on the commission order at Tuesday’s meeting. It was approved by Commissioners Ann Schroeder and John Griesheimer. Commissioner Terry Wilson was not present.