Sen. Lisa Baker (20th District) is urging Pennsylvania’s 911 Advisory Board to postpone a vote on proposed changes to the state’s 911 funding formula and revise its plan.
Baker sent a letter to Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency Director Randy Padfield asserting her strong opposition to the current proposal, citing inequities for rural communities.
PEMA is required to review the formula every two years, so the advisory board has been looking at ways to more fairly distribute the dollars given to county 911 systems and encourage efficiencies. A final vote the proposal is scheduled for June 18.
“While there is general agreement on the need to update the formula, what has been developed is detrimental to the counties of northeastern Pennsylvania,” Baker said.
According to Baker, eight of the ten counties in the region will receive less funding, totaling a loss of almost $3.2 million. Wyoming County’s allocation would be slashed in half.
“Our area faces several unique challenges that are not captured in the plan, such as the significant influx of population each summer,” Baker noted. “With so many more people visiting the area thanks to our considerable travel and tourism industry, the calls to 911 also increase.”
“I have heard from numerous 911 directors and county commissioners who are concerned these changes would jeopardize the viability of our current 911 services,” Baker added. “It is certainly necessary for this formula be updated to provide the increased support the system needs, but it is imperative that these changes do not penalize our area in the process.”