SALINE COUNTY – A proposed statewide 911 fee hike sets a bad precedent and would be of no use to Southern Illinois residents, the county's 911 coordinator says.
Tracy Felty, Saline County E-911 director, said HB477 would tack on an extra $.02 monthly to the 911 portion of all phone bills for the next 10 years. Those funds would be used to build a trauma center in south suburban Chicago, he said.
"This is not the first time they've tried to do this," Felty said. "They tried to do something like this in about 2015."
He said he and many other 911 coordinators object to the bill, which will be heard in committee in Springfield today. The Human Services Committee will hear the bill.
He said there are three primary objections to the bill.
"First, why should we charge everyone in our own state for a trauma center," he said.
"Then, there's the issue that 911 funds need to stay with 911. And, there's no trauma center south of Springfield."
He said it has not been uncommon for state lawmakers to propose add-ons to the 911 fee.
"Every year, someone in the Legislature wants to use 911 funds to pay for something else," he said.
If HB477 were to be passed, it could cause 911 funds to be diverted for their sole purpose, he said.
"The 911 community feels that fees applied to both land-line phone and cellular phones should be
designated for 911 purposes only. To single out a specific cause only opens the door to other
interests to be tacked on to 911 fees or cause 911 fees to be misdirected for reasons other than
911 purposes," Felty said.