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Monday, November 14, 2011 - 3:21am

Cell Phone Fee Goes Local

Georgia counties will soon get more money to pay for 911 services. Staring in January the funds will no longer go to help the state meet its budget.

Counties across Georgia are passing ordinances allowing the Department of Revenue to collect a 911 fee people pay on cell phones. Local governments will get the money back every October.

Right now prepaid cell phone users pay a 75 cent fee when they purchase a phone or reload minutes. Debra Nesbit with the Association County Commissioners of Georgia says that money was supposed to be returned to local governments.

“Those prepaid providers had been forwarding that money to the Department of Community Affairs for four or five years, and that money was going to the state general fund. And not one penny of it had ever been allocated back to local communities for enhanced 911 services.”

Counties will recoup the fees based on population. To date, the state has collected around $28 million dollars.