NJWA and NJAC press conference to take place June 21, 2018 at 11:30 am
New Jersey Association of Counties
150 West State Street, Suite 220
The New Jersey Association of Counties (NJAC) and the New Jersey Wireless Association (NJWA) are urging State leaders to comply federal guidelines and restore critical 9-1-1 dollars to county and municipal 9-1-1 centers. As has been well documented, the State of New Jersey collects annually from consumers approximately $120.0 million in telecommunication surcharges as 9-1-1 System and Emergency Response Fees (Fees) and deposits these monies into the 9-1-1 System and Emergency Trust Fund Account (Fund). In fact, the State has collected approximately $1.3 billion in fees since 2006 with only 11% of Fund monies being spent on eligible expenses as recently reported by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Moreover, the State has failed to provide any funding for eligible expenses to local 9-1-1 centers operated by counties and municipalities and has instead diverted Fund dollars to cover general operating expenses in the Department of Law and Public Safety.
Importantly, counties and municipalities across the State handle the vast majority of 9-1-1 service requests through local “Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP)” and have come to inequitably rely on the collection of local property taxpayer dollars to improve, operate, and maintain 9-1-1 systems. County governments alone spent approximately $300.0 million over the last five years in capital improvements of which included facility upgrades; and, the purchase or lease of hardware and software such as telephone systems, computer aided dispatch, location mapping technology, voice recording technology, data analytics, and NextGen 9-1-1. Counties also spent an estimated $100.0 million in 2016 on operating expenses of which included administrative cost for salaries, staff training, ongoing systems maintenance, network security costs, and IT consulting services. On the average, county governments provide some level of 9-1-1 dispatch services for approximately of 73% of the municipalities located within their borders. In addition to restoring critical fund dollars, NJAC and NJWA are making the following recommendations: constitutionally dedicating any new 9-1-1 fees or surcharges imposed by the Legislature and collected by the State to county and municipal 9-1-1 centers; adopting the best practices outlined in the “New Jersey 9-1-1 Consolidation Study” published in 2006, which in part, calls for reducing the number of local 9-1-1 centers to streamline operations and save taxpayer dollars.