Commissioners Monty Montgomery, Tony Simmons and Ivan Kelly will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the courthouse.
Joe Barrett, chairman of the county 911 board, said Bryan County has the lowest rate allowed by law for a 911 telephone fee, and that collections for land lines have decreased in recent years.
A fee increase would have to be approved by a vote of the people. Also listed on the agenda is approving a bid from AT&T for the necessary equipment to upgrade the county 911 center for a one-time fee of $21,000 and approximately $71,000 per year.
“We have lots of equipment we need to update,” Barrett said. “The cell phone fee is covering some of that. We have money now, but we're going to use most of it.”
Voters narrowly approved a 50-cent monthly wireless telephone fee in December 2006 to upgrade the county's 911 program to track the location of emergency calls made with a wireless phone.
The 911 center is operated out of the Durant Police Department. During a county commissioner meeting in November, Durant Police Chief Gary Rudick said the 911 center operates at a deficit and that the city kicks in $200,000 per year. Officials said that funds from land lines have dropped from approximately $78,000 per year to $72,000 because many people do not have land lines and use cell phones.
The 911 fee on land lines has been in place since the early 1990s and the amount is five percent of the customer's bill. By law, the fee can range from five percent to 15 percent. According to Barrett, Bryan County's fee is one of the lowest and many counties have the maximum amount.
Barrett said raising the land line fee would help cover operating costs of the 911 center and hire another dispatcher.
“If we're going to continue to grow and prosper, we're going to have to ante up,” Barrett said.
If the agenda item is approved by commissioners, the city of Durant will consider it at an upcoming meeting.