The Nebraska Public Service Commission entered an order reducing the Wireless Enhanced 911 surcharge by ten percent (10%) for the upcoming year. As a result, based upon an estimated 1.3 million wireless subscribers, a ten percent (10%) reduction in surcharge represents a savings of approximately $1.56 million to subscribers during the Commission’s two-year budget cycle.
The Commission is required to review, on an annual basis, the surcharge for the Enhanced Wireless 911 Fund (Fund), pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. § 86-458. The surcharge may be up to $.70 per active telephone number or functional equivalent for all counties but Douglas County, which remains capped by law at $.50. Public Safety Answering Points and the Wireless Enhanced 911 Advisory Board recommended no change in the surcharge. However, Commission staff testified that that a 10% reduction in the surcharge would allow the Fund to maintain a sufficient funding balance for five years. At the end of five years, the balance of the Fund may need to be addressed once more and adjustments made to arrest the five year decrease in the ending balance of the Fund.
Citing the current balance of the fund and projected balances over the next five years, the Commission found the funding needed for NextGen 911 remains speculative and is not sufficient to justify maintaining high reserves in the Fund.
Furthermore, the Commission must act to balance current funding needs with the interest of the wireless subscribers paying the surcharge. Therefore, the Commission decided that the surcharge should be reduced from $.50 to $.45.
The Commission will continue to review the surcharge level on an annual basis as required by statute.