POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) - The Randolph County Budget Committee met Monday evening to try and get the numbers squared away on the 2013 budget. One area that was short a large amount of money, E911.
"There's not enough money, revenues coming in to operate 9-1-1," Randolph County Judge, David Jansen said. The money generated to fund E911 comes from a tariff on landlines.
"The problem is, we have a 10% tariff on landlines on the base bill. Well, everyone is doing away with landlines," Jansen said. With more people turning to cell phones, the money coming in to fund E911 isn't keeping up.
"We've got to operate 911." Judge Jansen said funding it isn't an option. "That's the lifeline for every citizen in every county in the state of Arkansas."
Judge Jansen said the problem could be solved one of two ways..
"They were gonna have to lay people off in the county, or they were gonna have to take it out of the perpetual savings account," he explained. In the end, the budget voted unanimously to take the shortfall of $146,000 from the perpetual savings account and put it towards E911. Jansen said though this option could keep them from laying off people in the county, the county could take a hit from taking money out of the account.
"Every time we take a little bit out of that perpetual savings account we lose a little bit of revenues for the county every year," Jansen explained. He told Region 8 News that the county collects the interest from that account and puts it towards other departments in the county. It's something that could come back to haunt them later.
"If none of the bonds are called in next year, when the treasurer has to pull that money out, we're gonna take a heck of a penalty, I'm afraid."
The budget committee will present their decision to the rest of the quorum court on Thursday, December 13. We'll keep you updated on the progress of Randolph County's budget.