New 911 Sales Tax Begins Tuesday
COLUMBIA - The 3/8 cent sales tax takes effect on Tuesday to fund a new 911 and emergency management project in Boone County.
Voters passed the tax in April 2013. The sales tax will be applied the same as all other sales taxes in Boone County. Revenue collected from the tax will be available on January 1, 2014, and fund a new Joint Communications Center for Boone County.
The 911 landline tax was eliminated in August and generated around $200,000 per year. The funds from the new sales tax will also replace those funds. Presiding Commissioner of the Boone County Commission Daniel Atwill said the new sales tax is expected to generate around $9 million each year.
Acting Operations Manager of the Joint Communications Center, Joe Piper, said the tax money will be used to fund a new facility, technology for the new call center and additional staffing.
"One of the main things that we needed is additional space," said Piper. "We have a need for additional call takers to be more responsive to the citizens calling and additional dispatchers to be more responsive to our user agencies in the field."
Piper said the Boone County Commission has approved nine emergency telecommunicators to begin preparing for the new communications center. Four of the spots filled vacant and existing positions, while five of the spots have been added to properly staff the new center. Piper said five employees give the call center one call-taker for 24 hours. The county is using its funds to pay the employees and will pay back those fees once revenue from the tax is available.
The new facility will be built on the sheriff's campus just north of the City of Columbia. It will house the new 911 Joint Communications Center, the Office of Emergency Management and the Emergency Operations Center.
Atwill said the Boone County Commission has hired a project manager, Mission Critical Partners, for the building of the new Joint Communications Center. It also plans to hire an architect service within the next six weeks.