OLR Bill Analysis

sSB 312 (File 93, as amended by Senate "A")*

AN ACT MANDATING THE REGIONALIZATION OF PUBLIC SAFETY EMERGENCY TELECOMMUNICATION CENTERS AND A STUDY OF CONSOLIDATION.

SUMMARY:

This bill:

1. beginning in FY 2016, makes municipalities with 40,000 or fewer people ineligible for E 9-1-1 funding if they have not joined with two or more municipalities to form a regional public safety answering point (PSAP) and

2. requires the Office of State-wide Emergency Telecommunications (OSET), which administers the state's E 9-1-1 program, to use money in the E 9-1-1 Telecommunications Fund to study PSAP regionalization issues and submit its findings to the Public Safety and Security Committee by July 1, 2011.

PSAPs are facilities that receive 9-1-1 calls and dispatch emergency response services (e. g. , fire and police) or transfer the calls to other public safety agencies.  

*Senate Amendment “A” adds the 40,000 population threshold for denying E 9-1-1 funding and requires the OSET study to determine a range of feasible arrangements for PSAPs, instead of just optimal arrangements and (1) consider the number of answering points that would achieve a balance between cost-effectiveness, operational efficiency, and efficient use of new and existing resources, not just the number that would be most cost effective and efficient; (2) consider cost, efficiencies, and natural or selected operational groupings, in determining which answering points should be consolidated; and (3) include what consolidation of E 9-1-1 services is recommended, rather than is necessary.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage for the OSET study; October 1, 2010 for the remaining provisions.

E 9-1-1 SYSTEM FUNDING

OSET Funding to Towns

Currently, OSET pays for all of the towns' 9-1-1 equipment and reimburses them at 10 cents per capita for costs incurred to train and certify telecommunicators (people who take 9-1-1 calls and dispatch emergency services). It also offers financial incentives to encourage towns to (1) establish multi-jurisdiction PSAPs and (2) consolidate PSAP operations by eliminating secondary answering points (facilities to which PSAPs transfer 9-1-1 calls instead of dispatching emergency services or transferring the calls to another public safety agency). OSET provides:

1. annual subsidies to towns with PSAPs that receive and process 9-1-1 calls for three or more towns (regional emergency telecommunication centers) and towns with PSAPs that receive and process 9-1-1 calls for two towns (multi-town PSAPs);

2. one-time, transition funding to help towns offset the cost of forming regional or multi-town PSAPs;

3. (a) annual subsidies to towns that have more than 40,000 residents and (b) reduced funding for each year that they continue to use a secondary answering point; and

4. service credits to encourage dispatch centers to regionalize (CGS 28-24 et seq. & Conn. Agencies Regs. 28-24-1 et seq. ).

Beginning in FY 2016, the bill eliminates funding to all municipalities with 40,000 or fewer people that have not joined with two or more municipalities to form a regional PSAP. It also specifically prohibits OSET, on or after July 1, 2016, from paying to replace existing 9-1-1 equipment for any PSAP that is not part of a regional PSAP (see BACKGROUND).

OSET STUDY

The bill requires OSET to conduct a study to determine a range of feasible arrangements of PSAPS. The study must include:

1. the number of answering points that would achieve a balance between cost-effectiveness, operational efficiency, and efficient use of new and existing resources;

2. which answering points should be consolidated, after considering cost, efficiencies, and natural or selected operational groupings;

3. what consolidation of fire, police, emergency medical services and related services is recommended; and

4. all costs associated with all aspects of and various options for consolidation, including state and municipal costs.

BACKGROUND

E 9-1-1 System

Currently, there are (1) seven regional PSAPs serving 73 member towns; (2) nine multi-town PSAPs; (3) 22 towns receiving subsidies based on the 40,000 population threshold, with four receiving reduced funding because they operate secondary answering points; and (4) 60 towns that get no subsidies because they operate stand-alone PSAPs and do not qualify for the population-based subsidy.

Funding Source

Funding for the E 9-1-1 system is generated by a monthly surcharge levied on all phone lines (CGS 28-30a). The current rates start at 47 cents per line per month, and customers with multiple lines are rated on a sliding scale. (CGS 16-256g limits the maximum charge to 50 cents per line). Customers pay the surcharge to their telephone service provider which, in turn, remits it to OSET monthly for deposit in the E 9-1-1 Telecommunications Fund.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Public Safety and Security Committee

Joint Favorable Substitute

Yea

20

Nay

0

(03/09/2010)

Planning and Development Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

17

Nay

1

(04/14/2010)

Appropriations Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

51

Nay

1

(04/20/2010)