Routt County Routt County officials want cellular phone users to pay their way when it comes to emergency phone services.
Last month, county commissioners passed an ordinance that added a monthly, 70-cent charge to cell phone bills to help pay for the cost of the local 911 emergency service.
In the late '80s, commissioners passed a similar ordinance that put a 70-cent monthly charge on all phone lines in the county.
That landline surcharge is budgeted to collect about $147,740 this year.
Now commissioners think it's time for the cell phone users to pay their way.
"They're not helping to pay for service," County Commissioner Dan Ellison said.
It costs around $1 million to run emergency communications in Routt County, which employs 12 dispatchers, a director and an administrative assistant.
"Someone's got to be there all the time 24 hours a day," County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.
On top of the $1 million it takes to maintain the service, $460,000 has been budgeted for new equipment this year.
Most of the cost of emergency communications is covered by county property taxes, Stahoviak said.
The county is asking town boards in Hayden, Oak Creek and Yampa to adopt the same cell phone ordinance.
The Hayden Board of Trustees passed the ordinance Thursday night.
Trustees in Oak Creek discussed the ordinance in a work session last week, Town Clerk Nancy Crawford said.
She expects it to pass without any problems.
The Yampa Board of Trustees voted down a similar ordinance Wednesday night, in a 3-4 vote.
Trustees who voted against the measure didn't like the idea of paying an additional charge for a service they already are charged for.
"We already pay for the landlines," Mayor Tom Estes said.
Commissioner Ellison doesn't think the trustees' perspective is unreasonable. However, he felt that the county could do a better job of educating town boards on the issue so they know more details about what's being voted on.
"We just need to recognize that sometimes," he said.
To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206 or e-mail email@example.com