Letters to the Editor

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911: Proposal’s cost seems excessive

Letter by Gordon Gipson, Lake Tapps on July 28, 2011 at 1:19 pm with 6 Comments »
July 28, 2011 1:19 pm

Re: “911 tax to go to voters” (TNT, 7-27).

Having spent more than 11 years writing Enhanced 911 standards with the National Emergency Number Association, I am a champion of good E 911 service and believe in keeping ahead of the curve. But I do have a couple of issues with the new proposal based on The News Tribune article.

I would be interested in knowing what the projected yearly dollars are for the new tax plus how much money the new consolidated centers will receive from the 911 tax that the state has in place now.

It seems to me, at first blush with no other information, this is going to be a larger-than-needed windfall, to upgrade and then maintain the centers over time. Once the centers are in place, the dollars needed should be significantly reduced.

How much is this upgrade going to cost? We, as voters have not been told. Is this in line with other state-of-the-art center costs? Until the voters have the facts, how can they make an educated decision about their vote?

It seems to me that it would have made more sense to float a bond to cover the upgrade instead of a tax that lasts 25 years. When I was working on standards, there was little regard for cost because our committees were just dealing with the issues. Consequently I do not have a lot of experience with costs, but this seems excessive to me.

Leave a comment Comments → 6
  1. gowenray says:

    You are right to question this proposal Mr. Gipson. I’ve recently discovered that by slight of hand (and vote) our elected representatives have nullified tax increases earmarked for specific uses.
    Now, all tax revenues go directly to the general fund for disbursement as seen fit by the elected. That’s happened to all 911 taxes being collected at this time and in the future.
    I’m afraid you’ve discovered the latest tactic by our elected representatives to cloak a tax increase within the robe of need.

  2. tree_guy says:

    When in doubt it’s better to vote no. Thanks for your insightful letter, Gordon.

  3. scott0962 says:

    If you don’t understand a proposal a good rule of thumb is to vote “no”.

    There is no excuse for putting measures on the ballot that the average voter can’t understand and that includes leaving out the information necessary for them to make an informed choice on the measure.

  4. On any tax increase or proposal you don’t fully understand vote No!The taxaholics are depending on their ability to mask the true identity of the new Taxes.I am suprised that they only want the tax to be with us for 25 years.But I forgot that they will have a vote to extend any tax that is put on the public.You all know the old phrase,TEMPORARY TAX!

  5. Really911 says:

    Well stated Gordon !!!
    And the suggestion that they will just have a future vote to extend this. No doubt, they will have 25 years to figure out how. Of course they probably already have it figured out.

    If any of you have seen this South Sound 911 Agency Charter, it is full of vague statements like “define a new model structure that is inclusive, where feasible, of the current model” ..What the Hell ? Oh and “to operate emergency communications in the most cost-efficient manner possible, consistent with public safety” . Now this is just plain BS. There is no way that spending an undetermined/unstated amount of money on making the worst center in Pierce County bigger by swollowing up the smaller more efficient centers, is the most cost-efficient way do do this.
    #1. This will eliminate the back up for Pierce County in the case of a catastropic event, (A Secondary PSAP or fire dispatch can not back up a Primary PSAP). Example, last year when the sonic boom caused LESA’s phones to go down from overload.
    #2. They have not even picked a property yet, so they have no idea of the cost. No impact studies can be done until a property is selected.
    #3. The employees at the centers they want to take over are not guaranteed jobs, they make lower wages, but will be replaced, by employees that the county will pay higher wages.
    #4. The fire dispach centers, when combined, will cost about 25,000 per month more in wages alone, because the dispatchers at Tacoma Fire are Fire Fighters and make about $1000.00 per month more on average than the Dispachers at Fire Comm which are all civilians.

    Where is the “cost-efficiency” in this…And this is just the tip of the iceberg..

    Come to the Puyallup City Council meeting on 8/16 and learn more. Kevin Phelps (Pat McCarthy’s assistant) will be there. Make them explain. And Then VOTE NO !!

  6. geeterpontiac says:

    Just another attempt to suck money out of the taxpayers.

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