911 Fee Approved

March 2, 2008
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GRAND RAPIDS — Kent County commissioners ratified a 911 emergency service plan and a new 911 surcharge last week.

The surcharge adds 45 cents a month to every billable telephone in the county, including cells and Internet-based services, beginning July 1.

The county expects the surcharge will raise $1.8 million for the last six months of this year and $3.6 million for all of 2009. The funds will go to the Kent County Dispatch Authority for a 911 call center.

Commissioners Dick Bulkowski, Brandon Dillon, Carol Hennessy and Paul Mayhue voted against the surcharge, saying it could be too costly for some residents and businesses.

“I think a ‘yes’ vote will bring the process into the 21st century,” said County Sheriff Larry Stelma of the 911 dispatch system. “A ‘no’ vote will take it back into the 1970s.”

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