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Local man challenges spending

Nov. 21, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- A local man challenged county commissioners Tuesday to review the spending within the Cabell County's emergency service agencies before it adopts an increase to the local 911 fee.

Allen Kaplan was the lone speaker at what would have been a public hearing on the issue, but a failure to advertise the proceeding will require commissioners to hold it another day. A new date was not set.

The fee increase would affect those paying for a telephone landline in the county. The proposal would force residential customers to pay an extra dollar each month per phone line, while the business fee would increase $2. The fee currently for residents is $3.50 per line, while business now pay $4.50 per line.

Cabell County 911 says the increase is needed to cover a potential $300,000 budget shortfall. Administrators cite increased health care and building insurance costs, all at a time when the agency is noticing a drop in revenue as more people ditch their landlines in favor of cellular phones.

Kaplan urged commissioners to consider a wide range of cost-cutting moves, such as changes to employee health insurance plans.

"I've always been against the fee, not the service," he said. "I feel it's just another way to balance government on the back of the taxpayers ... It's just a way of freeing up money to use for other activities."

Commissioners also opened and took bids under advisement for new, government-mandated computer software for 911. The low bidder was APCO International of Daytona Beach, Fla., at $43,125; followed by PowerPhone of Madison, Conn., at $86,422; and Priority Dispatch Corporation of Salt Lake City at $216,106.

In unrelated news, commissioners met as the Board of Canvassers to certify results of the General Election.