Tompkins County
New York

Report or Discussion Item

Memo from Senator Seward - Prepaid Cell Phones


Department:Tompkins County LegislatureSponsors:
Category:Public Safety

Meeting History

May 18, 2017 3:30 PM  Public Safety Committee Regular Meeting

Mr. John referred to a memo included in the agenda packet from Senator Seward concerning pre-paid cell phones. He said the 911 system is largely funded by landlines and there has not been an effective way to get pre-paid phones to pay their share. New York State will be placing a $.90 surcharge fee on these and counties are able to impose their own additional $.30. Mr. Shurtleff estimated between 20-30% of existing wireless devices are from pre-paid products that are on the market and an additional $.30 local surcharge would result in $40,000-$60,000 in additional revenue.

Mr. Shurtleff said there will be two steps the Legislature will need to take. A wireless surcharge is done under local law through provisions under Article 6 of County Law. In the proposed legislation Albany is repealing that authority for counties to impose the wireless surcharge under County Law; therefore, as of December 1 the County will need to enact legislation and move it to be under Taxation and Finance provisions. At the same time there is a model local law that would allow us to merge the two together and do the pre-paid and post-paid devices together. He clarified that the original local law will need to be repealed and a new local law adopted following a public hearing.

Mr Shurtleff said revenues were $60,000 short of projections last year and this will only fill a hole in the budget.

Mr. Shurtleff was asked to provide a more detailed report so the Legislature knows how to respond to Senator Seward’s memo and to prepare a resolution for the Committee to consider as soon as possible.