PUEBLO – An additional $0.80 could be tacked on to monthly phone bills beginning in 2019 if the police chief’s request for a hike in the 911 surcharge is approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission and City Council.
The Pueblo Police Department has submitted an application to the PUC to more than double the 911 surcharge to $1.50 per month from the current rate of $0.70 per month, a rate that has remain unchanged since 2009. “(Pueblo) County, on the other hand, has increased theirs, and theirs is currently $1.50 per month,” Davenport told News 5.
The increased 911 surcharge would generate around $1 million per year and would fund equipment, programs, software, and salaries for dispatchers and other emergency communications personnel, Davenport said. A system that records calls to 911 faces a mandatory upgrade in 2019, Davenport said. “The current system that we have in place will no longer be supported after the first of the year, so we’ll need a new system,” Davenport said.
Nearly 60 counties and municipalities across Colorado implement 911 surcharges, ranging from $0.45 to $1.75 per month. Pueblo County’s 911 surcharge increased from $0.70 to $1.50 this summer. “It’s pretty simple — it would be $1.50 whether you’re a city or county resident,” Davenport said.
If the PUC grants Pueblo PD’s 911 surcharge application, it would require an ordinance by City Council to implement it. Residents would have a chance to express their support or opposition to the ordinance in a public hearing. Pueblo’s 911 surcharge was first implemented in the 1980s at a rate of $0.40 per month.