Voters to decide fate of Muskegon County 911 surcharge

Posted at 5:06 AM, Oct 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-23 05:28:02-04

MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. -- There are two town halls planned this week to give Muskegon County residents a chance to weigh-in on a proposed 911 surcharge that would fund outdated equipment.

The increase surcharge is six times higher than what is has been for years, but county officials say aging equipment is making communicating in the field difficult for first responders.

For the last several years, dispatchers have been using the same technology when it comes to answering 911 calls or dispatching officers or medical personnel.

But now officials say its too old, and can't keep up with the demand, saying it may not even make it through the end of the year.

The proposed 911 surcharge would go from 42 cents up to $2.75 per month.

Muskegon County is one of the last remaining counties in Michigan using this dated system, forcing dispatchers to struggle communicating with neighboring counties and Michigan State Police.

The upgrade would allow the dispatch center to move to a new and improved radio network, and fund new technology upgrades and software.

If approved during the November election, you could start seeing the surcharge take effect as early as July 1 of 2019.  The surcharge will increase to up to $2.75 per month for subscribed devices. Pre-paid wireless devices pay a state surcharge of 5 percent. For multiple line users, such as businesses, the surcharge is only assessed on the first 10 lines individually and then prorated for additional lines.

There are two town halls planned: 1 p.m. Tuesday and again Thursday at 7 p.m. the Muskegon Fire Department Central Station Community Room,  770 Terrace Street, for residents to ask questions, or read more here.