Boone County commissioners to eliminate 911 landline phone tax

New sales tax will fund new 911 call center and additional employees

BOONE COUNTY, Mo. - On Tuesday morning, Boone County leaders started work to eliminate the current 911 tax on landline phones.

Instead, county commissioners are going to rely on the new sales tax that was approved by voters in April. The county is hoping the new sales tax will generate around $9.3 million for the new 911/Joint Communications center and employees.

That tax goes into effect in October and the goal is to upgrade services.

Currently, Joint Communications is interviewing to fill five positions for call takers.  Those five employees will make up for the current one 24/7 call taker. The ultimate goal is to someday have four call takers, which would mean adding at least 20 new employees.

"When I started here 22 years ago, we had one call taker and today, we still have one dedicated call taker, so it's long overdue," said Joe Piper, interim director of operations for the 911 center in Boone County.

The new facility will be on the current Boone County law enforcement campus just north of Columbia and should be completed by 2015.

The county is in the process of naming a project manager to build the new facility, and could know in the next couple of weeks who gets the job.

Also in the next couple of weeks, a date will be announced for when the transition will take place for the city employees to become county employees. Officials have been figuring out sick days, pension benefits rolling over, seniority and salary. They are still figuring out how to transfer vacation days.

"They can start with a vacation balance with the county, but that will require a change in the city ordinance and we have received positive feedback that that is possible," said Nicole Galloway, chair of the 911 personnel transition committee. "As far as personnel transition, in the next month or so, we should have the date of the actual transition from city to county."

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