Funding for 911 systems could soon dry up

MIDDLEBURG – Snyder County Commissioner Malcolm Derk is very concerned about the funding of 911 systems in the county in the future. Derk spoke at this week’s commissioner meeting about what he called a “crisis” for 911 funding streams from the state.

He explained what is causing the funding decrease. Derk said, “There are a decreasing number of landline telephones across the country. There is a surcharge on each of those landlines that goes to fund 911. That revenue has continually dropped.”

Derk said, “The funding stream that comes in from cell phones is more restrictive the way the legislation is written and it’s not as much as landline surcharges. It doesn’t cover the costs. PEMA has informed county commissioners across the state that they are currently $98-million in the whole, that they haven’t been able to pay counties.”

And what does that mean for Snyder County? Derk says next year, he expects all the Valley counties to start seeing less reimbursements from the state and they won’t be able to meet their costs, unless there is some legislative remedy.

If the state doesn’t resolve the funding stream problem for local counties, Derk says they will have to come up with approximately $400,000 to fund the 911 communications center. (Ali Stevens)