Clay County Proposition A, which asked voters to implement a $1 monthly fee on cell phones to fund 911 services, passed with 60.9% of the vote in Tuesday’s election. The fee will go into effect on wireless and VoIP phones on April 1, 2024. At the same time, the current landline fee will be eliminated in accordance with Missouri Statute RSMO 190.455.
In 2022, 80% of all 911 calls in Clay County originated from wireless devices, with an additional 9% via VoIP. Prior to the approval of Proposition A, there was no dedicated fee or tax on these devices for funding 911 services, despite their predominant use in emergency situations.
Sheriff Will Akin expressed appreciation to the Clay County residents for their active participation in the voting process and pointed out the positive impacts the approval of this fee will have on the county’s budget, helping to maintain other essential county services.
“I really want to thank the residents of Clay County who took the time to vote on this important issue,” Sheriff Will Akin said. “The passage of Proposition A will guarantee a sustainable funding source for the 911 system in Clay County for years to come. It will allow us to adapt to new technologies that will improve public safety here and in the Kansas City Metro area. It also decreases pressure on the County’s budget, which will maintain other County services at the level residents have come to expect. We appreciate the support for public safety in Clay County.”
Currently, Clay County contributes over $1.1 million annually to the regional emergency communications system managed by the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC). However, the revenue from landline fees covers only about $218,000 of this amount. The county also receives $40,000 from state assistance through a fee for prepaid wireless services.
Despite this, a substantial deficit, approximately $850,000, remained, which had been projected to continue increasing over time. In a town hall meeting held earlier this month, Sheriff Akin said he estimates this new fee should generate upwards of $1.5 Million annually, covering the costs of 911 emergency response for the foreseeable future.