An unfunded mandate from the Nevada Legislature will likely mean an increase in phone line fees for Washoe County residents.
Fees could be 25 to 85 cents a month for each landline and mobile number.
The Washoe Board of County Commissioners heard the issue today at its regular meeting. The phone line fee would be part of the county’s five-year emergency response master plan as recommended by an advisory committee and developed by a hired, local firm, The Galena Group.
“There’s real advantage to this legislation, but (there are) always costs associated, and we have to find a way to pay for it,” said Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler. “The goal is to protect people every day, both citizens and our public safety personnel, that’s the purpose of this legislation and these cameras.”
The Nevada law, SB 176, which passed during the 2017 legislature requires law enforcement officers to wear body cameras. It also permitted a 911 line surcharge to purchase and maintain body and vehicle cameras.
The cameras and associated services will cost about $21 million over the next five years, said Stuart Cronan of The Galena Group. Costs include car and body cameras for the three regional law enforcement agencies — Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County — and IT support.
Commissioners tentatively approved these fees:
- Phone line of local telecommunications provider from 25¢ per month for each line, to 85¢ per month for each line.
- Mobile telephone service from 25¢ per month for each line, to 85¢ per month for each line.
- Trunk telephone line service from $2.50 per month for each line, to $8.50 per month for each line.
“Next steps in the process include changes to surcharges to come before the Board of County Commissioners in March, and expected increase to citizens in May, in order to comply with the mandate of SB 176 by July 1, 2018,” the county indicated in a statement to the media.
“This is (also) about protecting our public safety personnel,” Berkbigler added.