Uneven distribution of 911 center funding cited as issue

Written by Ben Allen and Radio Pennsylvania | Apr 10, 2015 5:04 AM

(Harrisburg) -- Counties across Pennsylvania have been arguing it's time for changes in how 911 centers are funded.

The major complaint is about the amount of funding.

Because of the current formula, the state is paying about 70 percent of the cost to operate the average 911 center in the 67 counties.

To cover the full cost, county commissioners want to see the fee bumped up to $2 a month for both landlines and cell phones.

It currently sits between a $1 and $1.50 per line.

But Richard Flinn, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, points to other potential issues.

"Between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, they receive 43% of the phone calls across the Commonwealth and they receive 26% of the funding. However, though that standard has to exist no matter where you are, no matter what happens, the funding has to be focusing on that," says Flinn.

At a recent budget hearing for PEMA, Flinn also said the agency is better prepared to work with PennDOT and the State Police in the event of a major traffic backup due to an accident.

"There will be people stuck on highways, and they'll be stuck for a period of time. But I can assure we've implemented a system, and ask the staff because I've very vigilant on when I see a spot report that comes out with a road closure and such, we are on it," says Flinn.

A pileup earlier this year outside of Philadelphia left three dead and thirty one injured.

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