H. B. 2706
(By Delegate Pethtel)
[Introduced January 21, 2011; referred to the
Committee on Political Subdivisions then Finance.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §7-1-3cc of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to allowing county commissions to use 911 fees to provide financial assistance to a countywide emergency ambulance service authority.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §7-1-3cc of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 1. COUNTY COMMISSIONS GENERALLY.
§7-1-3cc. Authority of county commissions to establish enhanced emergency telephone systems, technical and operational standards for emergency communications centers and standards for education and training of emergency communications systems personnel; standards for alarm systems; fee upon consumers of telephone service for the systems and for roadway conversion systems; authority to contract with the telephone companies for billing of fee.
(a) In addition to possessing the authority to establish an emergency telephone system pursuant to section four, article six, chapter twenty-four of this code, a county commission or the county commissions of two or more counties may, instead, establish an enhanced emergency telephone system or convert an existing system to an enhanced emergency system. The establishment of such a system shall be is subject to the provisions of article six of said chapter. The county commission may adopt rules after receiving recommendations from the West Virginia Enhanced 911 Council concerning the operation of all county emergency communications centers or emergency telephone systems centers in the state, including, but not limited to, recommendations for:
(1) Minimum standards for emergency telephone systems and emergency communications centers;
(2) Minimum standards for equipment used in any center receiving telephone calls of an emergency nature and dispatching emergency service providers in response to that call and which receives 911 moneys or has basic 911 service funded through its county commission; and
(3) Minimum standards for education and training of all personnel in emergency communications centers.
(b) (1) A county commission may impose a fee upon consumers of local exchange service within that county for an enhanced emergency telephone system and associated electronic equipment and for the conversion of all rural routes to city-type addressing as provided in section three of this article. The fee revenues may only be used: solely and directly
(A) For the capital, installation, administration, operation and maintenance costs of the enhanced emergency telephone system; and of
(B) To provide financial assistance to a countywide emergency ambulance service authority;
(C) For the conversion to city-type addressing; and including
(D) For the reasonable costs associated with establishing, equipping, furnishing, operating or maintaining a county answering point.
(2) Effective on July 1, 2006, all county enhanced emergency telephone system fees that are in effect as of July 1, 2006, and as such that may later be modified by action of a county commission, shall be imposed upon in-state subscribers to voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) service, as VoIP service is defined by the Federal Communications Commission of the United States. A nonbusiness VoIP service subscriber shall be is considered in-state if the primary residence of the subscriber is located within West Virginia. A business subscriber shall be considered is an in-state if the site at which the service is primarily used is located within West Virginia. The Public Service Commission may, as it deems appropriate and in accordance with the requirements of due process, issue and enforce orders, as well as adopt and enforce rules, dealing with matters concerning the imposition of county enhanced emergency telephone system fees upon VoIP service subscribers.
(c) A county commission may contract with the telephone company or companies providing local exchange service within the county for the telephone company or companies to act as the billing agent or agents of the county commission for the billing of the fee imposed pursuant to subsection (b) of this section. The cost for the billing agent services may be included as a recurring maintenance cost of the enhanced emergency telephone system.
Where a county commission has contracted with a telephone company to act as its billing agent for enhanced emergency telephone system fees, all competing local exchange telephone companies with customers in that county shall bill the enhanced emergency telephone system fees to its respective customers located in that county and shall remit the fee. It may deduct its respective costs for billing in the same manner as the acting billing agent for the enhanced emergency telephone system fee.
(d) A county commission of any county with an emergency communications center or emergency telephone system may establish standards for alarm systems, including security, fire and medical alarms.
(e) The books and records of all county answering points that benefit from the imposition of the local exchange service fees shall be are subject to annual examination by the State Auditor’s Office.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to allow county commissions to use 911 fees to provide financial assistance to a countywide emergency ambulance service authority.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.