Disappearing landlines impacting 911 funding in Kamloops

Landline users in Kamloops pay 75 cents per month for 911 services, which funds a contract with the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and Kamloops Fire Rescue dispatch. Cellphone users don't pay that fee — yet.

City of Kamloops funding for 911 dispatch services has declined in recent years, due to a societal shift away from landlines and toward cellphones.

Landline users in Kamloops pay 75 cents per month for 911 services, which funds a contract with the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and Kamloops Fire Rescue dispatch.

article continues below

City of Kamloops community services director Byron McCorkell said the levy is the city’s only mechanism to recover 911 costs. With fewer landlines, costs are increasingly covered through taxation.

According to the city, revenues have been declining since 2015 and are expected to continue dropping in coming years. In 2015, the levy brought in $327,000. In 2021, it is anticipated to drop to $180,000.

Kamloops Fire Rescue proposed increasing the levy, which has not risen in two decades, bringing the monthly fee to $1.25, or an extra $6 annually to landline users. The city estimated the increase, if applied mid-year, would bring in an additional $66,000 in 2021, amounting to $246,000.

The request was declined, however, when presented to city council on Tuesday (Feb. 9) during budget deliberations.

Coun. Denis Walsh said that, with the bulk of landline users likely seniors, it is unfair to increase the levies and could be an issue of discrimination.

Coun. Dale Bass added that lower-income residents are also more likely to have landlines, as opposed to cellphones. Coun. Arjun Singh said the issue is provincewide, with work underway by the Union of BC Municipalities to add levies to cellphone bills.

The motion to defeat the increase carried unanimously, by a vote of 9-0. The city will increase taxation, slightly, in order to offset the lost revenue.

© Kamloops This Week

 


KAMLOOPS WEATHER

Question of the Week POLL

What is the expense policy in your place of business when it comes to dining out?

or  view results

Popular Kamloops This Week

Events Calendar

Help Us Help Kamloops. Support Local Media.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Kamloops This Week is now soliciting donations from readers. This program is designed to support our local journalism in a time where our advertisers are unable to due to their own economic constraints. Kamloops This Week has always been a free product and will continue to be free. This is a means for those who can afford to support local media to help ensure those who can’t afford to can get access to trusted local information. You can make a one-time or a monthly donation of any amount and cancel at any time .

NEW: For every donation of $25 or greater, we will offer a digital advertising package to the local non-profit group of your choice.

Click on https://support.kamloopsthisweek.com for more information or to make your donation.

Thank you in advance for your support.