Public Information Meeting Will Be Thursday On 911 Tax
By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
Information will be shared on the proposed 3/8 of 1% sales tax increase to support 911 services on March 16.
The meeting will be held at Progress Sports Complex, next to the Ste. Genevieve County Community Center at 7 p.m., this Thursday.
The measure will be on the April 4 ballot. It is being requested because the 911 system’s primary method of funding – landline fees – has dropped to about ¼ what it initially was.
The 911 services are operated out of St. Francois County as part of a joint venture, started in 2011.
Ste. Genevieve County currently spends about $500,000 a year to fund 911 services. This comes from the landline fees. Unfortunately, the increasing switch from landline phones to cell phones has seen this revenue dwindle in recent years. The county barely took in over $100,000 in 2022 to fund emergency services. This figure is likely to continue spiraling downward as landlines become more and more obsolete.
The county is now spending some $400,000 out of general revenue to make up the shortfall.
What once is state of the art technology rapidly becomes outdated. This has happened across the board, both at the two 911 locations and with law enforcement, fire and ambulance districts.
Most vitally, communications equipment has continued evolving, leaving these entities lagging behind. Each entity needs to make costly upgrades in radio and other communications.
Central dispatch will soon be upgrading its services from analog to digital, costing a total of $7 million. Ste. Genevieve County will have to provide ore that $3 million of that. Over time, equipment and towers will have to be upgraded and emergency repairs made.