Deschutes County may trim May 911 money request

Ponders pitch for 3 cents lower than current rate

POSTED: 7:26 PM PDT March 13, 2013 
BEND, Ore. -

Deschutes County officials said Wednesday they may trim a planned May 21 ballot proposal to fund 911 services, even before it's sent to voters.

On Feb. 25, county commissioners approved putting the local option levy renewal on the May 21 ballot. The levy renews a current rate of 23 cents per $1,000 assessed value for another five years. No new taxes were proposed.

On Monday, commissioners will consider reducing the levy rate by three cents, to 20 cents per $1,000 assessed value.

The revision, if approved, would mean a ballot measure that would allow for a 3 cent reduction in what taxpayers currently pay for 911 emergency communication services.

"The change came after additional detailed analysis of the timing of needed capital expenditures over the next 5-10 years, and the possible use of 911 reserve funds to augment operational expenses if necessary," the county said in a news release late Wednesday.

"Combined with the desire to only assess Deschutes County residents what is absolutely necessary, it is believed that the 3-cent reduction per $1,000 of assessed value will maintain 911 service at current levels," the county's announcement said.

The county said the 911 executive staff "welcomed input from Sheriff Larry Blanton, the Bend Police Department and local residents in proposing this reconsideration."

Deschutes County 911 is responsible for taking all 911 calls in Deschutes County (roughly 162 per day), as well as all of the non-emergency calls for public safety in the county, for a total of more than 300,000 phone calls a year.

Deschutes 911 is also responsible to provide dispatch and support services for 13 public safety agencies, which includes areas outside of the county.