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Hall could get $400,000 for 911 center
Phone tax fee originally intended to fund state grant program
Maleah Truelove works in the Hall County Fire Services headquarters complex on Crescent Drive Monday afternoon along with other 911 emergency operators.

Hall County officials may soon tap into a fund that could bring in some $400,000 to the 911 center.

The Hall County Board of Commissioners is considering a resolution that would allow the county to rake in revenue from a tax charged to users of prepaid wireless phones.

Georgia already charges a 75-cent tax to users of the prepaid plans. A resolution passed by the commission could allow the county to collect its fair share of that tax, said Assistant County Administrator Marty Nix.

Nix presented a proposal to the commission at its work session Monday.

If approved, the resolution would allow the county to begin to share in what Nix said is $20 million of the state's revenues from the prepaid wireless tax in 2012.

The county's portion of the state tax will be determined based on population. Right now, Nix estimates it could be as much as $400,000, though the state Department of Revenue would take 2 percent of that portion as an administrative fee.

The tax revenue would be paid in an annual check to the county each October.

The money would supplement the county's $4.16 million 911 center fund, which this year relied on a nearly $800,000 supplement in general fund revenue to operate. Most of the county's 911 fund is paid for through charges for service like the 911 fee charged to telephone customers.

The state began charging the tax following a 2008 state law that allowed the Department of Revenue to assess a 911 fee on prepaid wireless phones.

Users of contract wireless phones and landlines are already charged a tax for 911 calls through their service providers.

The fee for prepaid users is tacked on to the purchase of a phone and charged each time the user purchases more minutes. The money is paid to the Department of Revenue much like sales tax.

The tax was originally intended to fund a grant program for 911 services administered by the state Department of Community Affairs. According to a document prepared by Association County Commissioners of Georgia, none of the $28 million collected in the tax has been used for the grant program.