Chicago aldermen approve 911 fee hike

Published on 7/30/2014 By Chicago Tribune:

The Chicago City Council today approved a 911 phone line fee increase without dissent.

The fee hike will hit nearly all Chicago residents in September and October just months before the February city elections. The idea is that the 911 fee hike will help the city stave off, at least for a year, what elected officials view as the politically fatal third rail of Illinois politics: a property tax increase. 

The increase will boost 911 surcharges on wireless phones and landlines by $1.40 — to $3.90 a line — starting Sept. 1. It also would increase the tax on prepaid wireless phones by 2 percentage points, to 9 percent, on Oct. 1. The move will raise 911 fees by $16.80 per year — or $67.20 a year for a family with four phone lines. 

The fee hike is expected to raise about $10 million this year and another $40 million next year, Budget Director Alexandra Holt said. That would allow the city to free up $50 million in general revenue now dedicated to the 911 system and emergency preparedness. 

That’s about the same amount Emanuel had planned to raise from higher property taxes in next year’s budget to help cover increased city payments into two retirement funds, as required under city pension changes that Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law in June.

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