The city of Kokomo’s controller will speak Wednesday in front of a Statehouse committee examining shrinking the number of emergency dispatch centers in the state. It’s a scheme city officials and Howard County officials hatched during Mayor Greg Goodnight’s first term in office.
But Goodnight recently said he thought city taxpayers were being unfairly double-charged for emergency dispatch services and a solution needed to be found. Controller Randy Morris says he does not anticipate dissolving the agreement, but acknowledged disagreements between city and county officials about how a tax on landline telephones is collected and used to pay for dispatch.
Morris says one problem he hopes to address is that in counties which are dominated by a single city – such as in his city’s case – most dispatching needed for county residents is actually done inside Kokomo’s boundaries.
“It’s very rare that a county resident that is not inside the city actually utilizes that service when they’re out in the county,” Morris says. “It’s when they’re in the accident inside the city limits.”
Since the proportion of landline phones, the lines on which the E-911 tax is charged, is greater in Kokomo than in the outlying county, Morris says the city’s phone users are already overburdened. In recent years, many state leaders have called for charging the tax on cell phones, too.