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Spike wants state to use fewer E911 funds

YATES COUNTY—Most people in Yates can find a charge on their cell phone bill called “E911 (wireless) NY” for $1.20 per month. Sheriff Ron Spike said that charge brought in $175 million for the state of New York in 2008, but that counties and municipalities only get six percent back of what was originally meant for 911 dispatch use.
He said the state uses most of the funds collected from all cell phones for a number of things, many not related to dispatch. Spike explained funds have gone to trying to establish a state-wide wireless network, upkeep of buildings, and even uniform dry-cleaning.
“It’s not an equitable way to share the E911 charge,” said Spike, adding it was selfish for the state to take that much of the funds. He explained that the charge was initially created to support 911 operations, but was diverted.
He said that the state 911 wireless board gets $10 million, the six percent, of all funds collected to disseminate to the counties. In 2008 Yates County got $13,373 and in 2007 it was $14,000. Spike added that the wireless board will be getting less funds next year. He said for the next budget year the state decided to only give $9.8 million.

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