Saturday, December 11, 2010

State Auditor's efforts last year to bring E-911 service to all Mississippians blocked by legislature

WLBT reported the State Auditor tried to get the legislature to change the law allowing Mississippi counties to borrow against their E-911 funds until they actually provided E-911 service. Hinds County has recently come under media scrutiny for using millions of dollars in E-911 funds every year for payroll and other expenses even though the county does not have E-911 service. JJ obtained several exhibits that present a better idea of what the Auditor tried to accomplish and how many counties actually have E-911 service (or called "phase-II compliant).

There is a map of the state classifying each county according to what level of 911 service offered on the second page of the exhibit. 40 counties currently provide E-911 service. All but one county surrounding Hinds are Phase-II compliant. Eleven counties do not even offer 911 service. The sad truth is Hinds is the only "urban" part of the state lacking E-911 service. Forest, Lamar, Lee, Lauderdale, Warren, Madison, Rankin, Simpson, Harrison, Hancock, even Adams.... they all offer the service. To add insult to injury, most of the Delta counties offer it as well.

The Auditor makes his case for changing the E-911 laws on the first page of the exhibit. Mr. Pickering's office supported SB #3004 in 2009 that would have banned counties from spending or loaning E-911 funds until phase-II compliant. All counties were supposed to be phase-II compliant by 2005. The state loses several million dollars every year in federal money because it has not complied with federal law. Unfortunately for Mr. Pickering and Mississippians in thirty-eight counties, the bill died in committee. Sources inform JJ the supervisors, both Republicans and Democrats, resisted any changes to the current law that allows them to raid, oops, I meant borrow E-911 funds regardless of whether their counties offered the service.

Several lobbyists even informed JJ the supervisors lobbied the legislature last year and this year to give them access to the E-911 funds held by the CMRS board. The CMRS board collects the E-911 tax on your phone bill and distributes it to the counties. It designates some funds for projects but does not distribute them until the county is phase-II compliant. The supes discovered these funds existed and have tried to get their greedy little hands on them in the last two legislative sessions but failed to do so. Needless to say, its a safe bet the supervisors' interest in those funds were not to provide E-911 services. A 2009 FCC report to Congress states Mississippi collected nearly $12 million in 911/E-911 fees in 2008. Although the states are required to provide the information to the FCC, Mississippi and Louisiana were the only states that did not do so this year. It is unfortunate Mississippians suffer because too many of their leaders see E-911 funds as another cash cow instead of a means to fund a much-needed service. Casino money, tobacco settlement money, rainy day funds, E-911 funds. Lets spend it all right now and damn the consequences.



3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yet another example of the pathetic, ignorant, and corrupt leadership we have in Hinds County and the state. Hopefully, bringing this situation to light will cause these wanna be gangsta politicians to either DROP the tax or actually use the money for purpose for which it was intended.

Kingfish said...

What's sad is even the Delta counties got it right. You should've been at that BOS meeting last week. Lets just say Graham was HIGHLY motivated. Was also somewhat clueless in that he didn't even know which department was responsible for mapping the county. I contacted one supe before the meeting and that supe knew all this stuff already. The process is actually pretty far along. Once the mapping is completed and uploaded, it will almost be ready to turn on.

Anonymous said...

But will this tax, surcharge, fee, whatever be collected in perpetuity?

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Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


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Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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