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Introduced Version House Bill 2942 History

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hb2942 intr
H. B. 2942


(By Delegates Trump, Staton, Blair, Browning and Duke)
[Introduced
March 8, 2005 ; 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 authorizing counties to impose, as an alternative to 911 fees on local exchange telephone lines, a 911 service fee on owners of real estate.

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; 911 fees; petition; election; dedication; and increase.

(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 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) 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 is to be used solely and directly for the capital, installation, administration, operation and maintenance costs of the enhanced emergency telephone system and of the conversion to city-type addressing and including the reasonable costs associated with establishing, equipping, furnishing, operating or maintaining a county answering point.
(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 subject to annual examination by the State Auditor's Office.
(f) Every county commission which provides 911 emergency services may, as an alternative to 911 fees on local exchange lines, impose, by ordinance, upon the owners of real estate in the county, reasonable 911 emergency service rates, fees and charges to be collected in the manner specified in the ordinance for the continuance or improvement of the 911 emergency service. However, before a county commission can impose by ordinance, upon the owners of real estate in the county, a reasonable 911 emergency service fee, ten percent of the qualified voters must present a petition duly signed by them in their own handwriting, and filed with the clerk of the county commission directing that the county commission impose such a fee. The county commission may not impose a lien on any property as security for payments due under the ordinance. Any ordinance enacted under the provisions of this section shall be published as a Class II legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, and the publication area for the publication is county-wide. In the event thirty percent of the qualified voters of the county, by petition duly signed by them in their own handwriting and filed with the clerk of the county commission within forty-five days after the expiration of such publication, protest against the ordinance as enacted or amended, the ordinance may not become effective until it is ratified by a majority of the legal votes cast in the county at any primary, general or special election as the county commission may direct. Voting may not take place until after notice of the submission has been given by publication as provided in this subsection for the publication of the ordinance after it is adopted. The powers and authority hereby granted to county commissions are in addition to and supplemental to the powers and authority otherwise granted to them by other provisions of this code.
Any fees imposed under this subsection must be dedicated to the county enhanced emergency telephone system.
In the event the county commission determines an increase in the fee authorized by this subsection is necessary, it must approve the increase by majority vote. Procedures set forth in this section for the initial levy of the fee must be followed by the county commission in the event any increase is sought.




NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to
authorize counties to impose, as an alternative to 911 fees on local exchange telephone lines, a 911 service fee on owners of real estate.

Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.
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