“CREST fully supports the resolution passed on the 911 levy at UBCM today”, says CREST chair Gordie Logan. UBCM delegates passed a resolution to lobby the provincial government to have the 911 levies collected by telephone companies remitted to the service providers.
“This is the third time that UBCM has passed this resolution. It was passed unanimously in 2004, 2009 and now again in 2012,” says Logan. “It’s time for Minister Bond to act and stop the double billing of taxpayers.”
Property owners are paying for 911-service through their property taxes and again through their phone provider. Estimates suggest that approximately $2 million is collected annually from Capital Region cell phone users and kept by telephone companies for a service they only partially provide.
Local and regional governments and organizations like CREST provide the majority of 911-service, but do not receive any of the revenue collected from the 911 levy on wireless phones. The long-standing practice is that revenue from the levy on landline phones is passed along to service providers.
“With over 70 per cent of 911 calls being made on cell phones, it is long overdue for the province to mandate that the 911 levy, already collected by wireless providers, be shared with service providers,” said Logan.
CREST has 20 shareholders representing Capital Region municipalities, the Province, RCMP, BC Ambulance and BC Transit. The company operates a wide-area radio system for 40 agencies providing emergency services in the Capital Region.