Expect push for cell tax later in year

(Editor’s note: This story has been corrected. See the full correction below the story.) By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes There’s almost universal agreement on the Keizer City Council that 911 costs are taking an excessive chunk of the city’s general fund dollars. Whether a franchise fee on cell phones is the solution is another matter. Indications are the matter will come up for formal discussions in November. The facts are these: Between 2006-07 and 2009-10, revenue from the state’s 911 excise tax that made its way into city coffers have remained more or less stable. Meanwhile, costs of 911 service to the city have risen by about $64,884 in the same time period, with charges reaching $421,600 in 2009-10. Consequently, the city’s general fund has bridged the gap. The general fund contribution in paying for communications services from the Willamette Valley Communications Center has risen about 7 percent in the past four budget cycles, from $291,192 in 2006-07 to $312,900 in 2009-10. In addition, landline telephone fees are also falling. They fell from $134,939 in 2007-08 to about $93,200 in 2009-10. “There are many reasons for this reduction, not the least of which has been increased use of cellular phones, as well as ‘reseller’ use, essentially other vendors using the lines for less fees,” states a 2009 report from City Attorney Shannon Johnson. While the structure isn’t complete,...

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