LIBERTY, Mo. — Clay County voters approved a new fee to help fund the 911 system Tuesday.
According to unofficial election results, Proposition A on Tuesday’s ballot passed with 61% of the vote.
The proposition allows Clay County to impose a $1 monthly fee on any wireless device capable of calling 911.
Currently, the county raises its funding for the local 911 system with a tax on landline phones. That was implemented in 1993.
But as the number of landlines in Clay County — and across the country — declines, the county said it has been pulling money from other sources to cover the cost.
This year, Clay County will pay over $1.1 million for its portion of the emergency communications system, managed by the Mid-America Regional Council.
The regional 911 service covers 11 counties, and each county’s costs are based on population. As Clay County’s population grows, its costs for emergency communications has grown as well.
But fees from landline phones only cover about $218,000 of the $1.1 million in 911 costs, according to the sheriff’s department.
Meanwhile, 80% of 911 calls in Clay County came from wireless devices in 2022.
Officials said the fee will appear on your phone bill if it’s issued to a Clay County address. Additionally, ballot language says the 911 charge for landlines will be eliminated.
Clay County leaders said the monthly fee will also allow them to implement new technology that will better locate 911 callers, allow dispatchers to accept videos and photos, and more.
Any surplus revenue from the fee would go to maintaining and upgrading dispatch centers.
Clay County Sheriff Will Akin released the following statement after the measure passed:
“I really want to thank the residents of Clay County who took the time to vote on this important issue. The passage of Proposition A will guarantee a sustainable funding source for the 911 system in Clay County for years to come.
“It will allow us to adapt to new technologies that will improve public safety here and in the Kansas City Metro area. It also decreases pressure on the County’s budget, which will maintain other County services at the level residents have come to expect. We appreciate the support for public safety in Clay County.”