Group calls for approval of 911 funding bill

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill (WAND)- It's something that is often taken for granted, but members from the Illinois Chapter of the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (IL APCO) and the Illinois Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association (INENA) are urging Governor Rauner to sign a measure into law that would increase funding for 911 services, or risk losing dispatch services in some parts of the state. 

"We urge Governor Rauner to sign this legislation saving 911, bringing next generation technology to all residents of the state, continuing the meaningful consolidation taking place and keeping 911 services for all people of Illinois." said Brent Reynolds, President of the IL APCO.

"Some areas are just barely getting by now and the act that we passed a couple years ago we were hoping would better sustain our 911 throughout the state but that has fallen short. It did not do what it was promised." said Ralph Caldwell, Director of METCAD 911 for Champaign County.

This measure deals with a Public Act that is set to sunset this year, the act signed into law four years ago, began to set up a state-wide modern 911 network. 

Senate Bill 1839, would extend the act and continue the process of modernizing 911 services in the state. It would do this by increasing fees on cell phone bills. The fee would go from 87 cents, to $1.50. 

"It's a $1.50, so it adds up to $7.56 a year per device. That is 2 cups of coffee." said Reynolds.

The fee increase is needed, APCO says due to the decrease in landlord phones.

"We are getting ready to build a statewide network that is mandated by this act. But there is no funding for that. We are in dire straights right now. We need some help, we need some assistance." said Caldwell.

The measure Senate Bill 1839, passed out of both chambers with bipartisan support, but Governor Rauner has said he has serious concerns about raising fees on taxpayers in the state. 

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