Washingtonville residents question SBC's 911 charges

Some villagers are paying twice for 911 services.
LISBON -- Columbiana County Commissioner Gary Williams said he wants to quickly end the double-billing of some Washingtonville residents for 911 service.
SBC recently began charging its Columbiana County customers 50 cents a month to pay for enhanced 911 service.
But Williams said a Washingtonville resident called to say that Columbiana County was already collecting $2.95 on each six-month property tax bill for 911 service.
Williams said he'd determined that the real estate billing affected between 30 and 38 homeowners.
Part of the village is in Mahoning County and part of it is in Columbiana County.
The Columbiana portion of the village had agreed to go with Mahoning County when that county enacted 911 service. The Mahoning County sheriff's office dispatches for the Washingtonville police department. Columbiana County is in the process of setting up its 911 service.
Williams said he found records in June 1998 indicating the Columbiana County commissioners approved the funding plan. But commissioners' records also show that questions were raised by July of that year over whether the agreement was proper. Williams said he hadn't found another mention of the issue.
"We need to resolve this so people should be paying one charge or the other, not both," Williams said. "I think it only makes sense that the whole village stay with the 911 it already has."
In other action, the commissioners named SBC, the largest phone company in the county, the supplier for 911 equipment.
Williams said SBC customers will also start seeing a 12-cent monthly fee for network charges. Costs will vary according to a user's phone company.
The commissioners also received $545,000 it was granted earlier from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to pay for the equipment at law enforcement agencies that will handle 911 calls.

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