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County’s looking into non-payment of 911 surcharge collections

County’s looking into non-payment of 911 surcharge collections

County Commissioners Board Room / Courthouse stock

YORK – York County officials are looking into why the county hasn’t received any money, in the last year, from the 911 surcharges collected by Windstream from users of landline phones.

Counties pass resolutions each year allowing for carriers to collect the surcharges from customers – and then the carriers pass the money collected from customers on to the counties to be used for enhancing emergency communications.

The vast majority of 911 surcharges are paid by cell phone users – because there are more cell phone users these days than there are landline holders.

The county has continued receiving its allotted 911 surcharge money on the cell side.

But for all of 2020 regarding landlines – nothing.

This past week, the York County Commissioners were asked to pass the resolution for landline 911 surcharge collection and payment for the year of 2021, as they are annually.

“Our emergency communications director has told us that we have not been receiving this money from Windstream,” York County Commissioner Chairman Randy Obermier told the county board members. “It’s about 3,500 that we haven’t gotten.”

He explained that normally, this money goes directly from Windstream to the county.

“But in 2020, we received no funds at all on the landline side,” Obermier said.

The estimated amount is based on past receipts, which average about $3,000-$3,500.

“Obviously, the problem here is that the landline customers are being asked to pay it and we are not getting it,” Oberimier said further. “These funds go directly to the communications center. It may take issuing a complaint with the Public Service Commission.”

“Well, if we are talking only $3,000 a year, is it even worth doing this resolution any longer? We are talking about passing this resolution again, but if there aren’t many landlines any longer and we aren’t getting the money . . .” offered Commissioner Kurt Bulgrin. “And another thing, if we don’t pass this resolution, will Windstream think they don’t have to pass these funds to the county?”

“We could table the matter until we can look into further,” Obermier responded.

“It’s not a big deal, but it is the principle of the deal,” said Commissioner Bill Bamesberger.

The commissioner voted to table the matter, until they can find out why the county hasn’t been receiving these surcharge funds.

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