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911 surcharge well worth it

It’s been around so long and so ubiquitous — from that great old show William Shatner narrated, “Rescue 911,” to the current series 9-1-1 — that we take it for granted.

But neither state nor federal law offers any requirement or guarantee someone will help us when we dial those three digits.

Those 911 dispatchers play important roles in any emergency. They can calm us during tragedy, teach us how to do what we can until help arrives, direct emergency responders quickly and accurately to our aid.

But it takes money to keep those phone lines open and those trained professionals there to answer when we call.

On Tuesday, Alpena County asks voters to keep that money flowing, seeking a renewal of a $3 surcharge on every phone line in the county to fund 911 services. If your family has a land line and a cell phone for Mom, Dad, and the three kids, you’ll collectively pay $18 a month for 911.

The tax raises between $900,000 and $1 million to cover the salaries of dispatches and other emergency personnel and the technology, equipment, and software it takes to run the service.

We encourage voters to support the surcharge, which we consider well worth the expense.

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