No IL state budget, 911 call centers could get hit hard - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

No IL state budget, 911 call centers could get hit hard

UNION COUNTY, IL (KFVS) -

It’s been 97 days without an Illinois state budget and due to this, 911 call centers may soon be in a state of emergency. 

Funding for 911 call centers are collected from landlines and wireless fees, but because state lawmakers have yet to agree on a state budget, 911 call systems are no longer receiving wireless funds, which are sent to the state then sent back to the centers. 

“The month of September we got nothing.”

Union County 911 coordinator, Jana Fear, said last month, the 911 centers didn’t receive any wireless funds from the state.

“And that will continue until there is some kind of resolution," Fear said.

For Union County, that’s roughly $8,000 to $9,000 a month.

“And that’s a big chunk when you’re talking about a small county," Fear said. "And the larger they are, the more they’re not getting.”

And while they have money now, they don’t know what will happen once that money dries up.

“There will come a time if we don’t have income, that it’ll be gone and I really don’t know what will happen in Union County.”

It’s uncertain whether or not there will be cutbacks in jobs, Fear said it’s kind of all up in the air for now.

But the real impact will be whether or not a budget is agreed upon by January 1, 2016

“Right now wire line money comes to the center themselves. January 1st, they will also be coming into the state," Fear said. "If we don’t get this resolved, there will be no income coming into 911 call centers starting January 1st.

One Fear describes as nerve-wracking.

“911 centers, you still have bills, you still have to answer your phone lines, you have to pay those bills, you have employee costs," Fear said. "Just to answer 911 calls, there’s a cost  associated being delivered to the 911 centers. If we have no money, how can we pay for that? What happens if we don’t pay for that? These are all things that’s never happened in the state of Illinois.”

Saint Clair is the first county in the state to file a lawsuit against Illinois, requesting that these funds be returned back to these 911 centers. Fear says if this lawsuit is successful, it would free up the money for the 911 call centers. That's if the state doesn't appeal the verdict.

As of last week, Saline and Gallatin counties have also filed lawsuits against the state on this matter. 

Fear says there is also a House bill, HB4305, to free up the money for 911 call centers as well.

Governor Bruce Rauner's office stated in an email to KFVS:

"At this time there is no appropriation to fund 911 call centers because the legislature has refused to pass a balanced budget. The governor has asked for structural reforms to free up resources to balance the budget, help the most vulnerable and to create jobs which will grow the economy. Unfortunately, the majority party continues to block the governor’s reforms."

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