Proposed 30-cent monthly fee on cell phones fails following public hearing in Canton
Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - 2:48 pm

CANTON – St. Lawrence County residents will not see a new 30 cent fee on for each of their cell phone lines after legislators failed to pass the proposed legislation Monday.

The controversial bill had drawn criticism in recent weeks after the county’s finance committee supported it. Legislators who supported the measure said the fee would have been used to maintain and improve the county’s 911 service. Under the proposal the state would have collected about 30 cents for each wireless phone line. The law would have also allowed providers to charge an administration fee of up to 3 percent of the surcharge.

The surcharge was estimated to raise more than $200,000 for county.

“All net revenue generated from the imposition of this surcharge is for payment of system costs, eligible wireless 911 service costs, or other costs associated with the administration, design, installation, construction, operation, or maintenance of public safety communications networks or a system to provide enhanced wireless 911 service serving such the county,” the resolution said.

The bill had support from St. Lawrence County Chairman Kevin Acres who said the county is going to need to maintain the E911 lines regardless and with revenue from the state declining, he’d rather see the surcharge, than raise the balance through property taxes.

However, other legislators feared the tax would unfairly hurt families with multiple cellphone lines.