Area 911 changes could be ahead in 2014

There could be changes ahead in how the 911 system is administered throughout Milam County and Central Texas in upcoming years.

Jim Reed, executive director the Central Texas Council of Governments (CTCOG) recently told the organization’s executive committee—made up of mayors, commissioners and county judges— that it might be in the area’s best interests to withdraw from the state’s 911 funding mechanism.

Reed said currently the funds generated in the seven- county CTCOG area, which includes Milam, go to the state before being returned to the area.

The 911 system is funded through a 50-cent surcharge added to every phone bill in the state.

But Reed said when the 50 cents goes to the Texas Commission on State Emergency Services, much less than 50 cents come back to Central Texas.

Reed said CTCOG gets back between 28 and 35 cents, depending on the year.

That translates to about $3 million per year.

Reed said an option if for CTCOG to become its own 911 district. That could substantially change the way 911 is delivered in Texas.

He said in January directors of various COGs in Texas will hold their annual convention and the 911 situation is certain to be discussed as CTCOG isn’t the only regional entity thinking about leaving the state system.

Next step might be for CTCOG to try and get a law passed allowing the Central Texas entity to work with the much larger North Central Texas Council of Governments, which represents the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

That would take time. Filing period for any proposed bills in te legislature doesn’t begin until November.

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