Emergency Services Communication Services (9-1-1) are funded by county governments. By a vote of County Electors, each household and business pays a $1 per month fee for 9-1-1 service on each telephone line that appears on their phone bill. The North Dakota Century Code allows a 9-1-1 fee to be collected up to $1.50 per subscriber line. With the rising cost of dispatch, the LaMoure County fee of $1.00 will not be able to cover the expenses of 9-1-1 in the county. Thus, LaMoure County has authorized a ballot measure to increase the 9-1-1 fee in the November 6th General Election.
The number of calls has increased across the state of North Dakota and in LaMoure County. Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) events which include 9-1-1 calls and radio traffic with first responders (ambulance, fire and law enforcement) are on the rise. For LaMoure County, there were 2,013 CAD events in 2011. This number of events jumped to 2,913 in 2017.
LaMoure County 9-1-1 expenses must include a contract with a Public Service Answering Point (PSAP) or Dispatch Center. The Dispatch Center shall be capable of answering calls 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Currently, LaMoure County contracts this service to North Dakota State Radio. North Dakota State Radio answers calls for 25 counties in North Dakota. With increased call volume, the cost to purchase equipment with current technology and hire and maintain staff of a Dispatch Center has significantly increased. Thus, in 2019, it is predicted that $0.84 to over $1.00 of the 9-1-1 fee will go directly to the public service dispatch contract.
LaMoure County must also provide local emergency communications to its residents and first responders. LaMoure County spends approximately $0.20 of the local 9-1-1 on the local first responder communication infrastructure. Infrastructure expenses consist of repeater and radio equipment to receive pages, computer aided dispatch (CAD) notification contracts and equipment, and public emergency notification systems. Another $0.30 of the local 9-1-1 fee is committed to administrative expenses including 9-1-1 network services required to provide delivery of 9-1-1 calls from the public to a dispatch center, local addressing and coordination, and mapping services.
During the General Election, LaMoure County Measure 1 will address the Emergency Services Communication Services (9-1-1) fee. The measure specifically reads “Should the current emergency service communication (9-1-1) fee of $1.00 per month per communication connection applied to all assessed communications services (telephone access line, wireless access line, and unique voice over internet protocol service) be increased to a maximum local (not to exceed) collection of $1.50 per month per communication connection commencing on February 1, 2019, for the operation and maintenance of the emergency services communications (9-1-1) system for LaMoure County?”. A “Yes” vote means you approve the increase of the local fee up to $1.50 per month while a “No” vote means you do not approve the increase of the local fee and it would remain at $1.00 per month