When 911 was established, it relied solely on the funding that is set aside for landline fees, which was expanded to cell phone fees. Recently, the House of Representatives passed HB 1590 which will increase this amount, but revenue from this change won’t be seen until later next year. 911 Director, Ryan Deatherage said, “The state has not provided a long-term revenue stream to fund 911.”
In Kingfisher County, the City of Kingfisher was paying 911 for dispatch and call handling services, but around 5 years ago stopped because no other municipalities in the county were paying. After this, the County Commissioners began funding the difference. The County came to the conclusion that it should be up to the larger cities in the county to pay for the service they are receiving. The County then hired Ryan Deatherage as director of 911 so he could help facilitate these changes. At the beginning of this year, Ryan and Commissioner Heath Dobrovolny made their way to the city council meetings in Hennessey, Kingfisher, and Okarche.
They broke down the budget of what 911 needs to operate and the additional funds they need to bring the center up to date. From this number, they broke up how much each city uses 911 services and determined a portion each town would need to pay based on population. Earlier this year, Hennessey and Okarche agreed to pay their part. However, Kingfisher’s approval was still necessary.
The basic 911 service that the 911 center is required to provide by law, is receiving the call and forwarding it to the city’s own dispatch. This is what Hennessey was receiving until they signed on, so they had their own dispatch in the Police Department. If Kingfisher did not agree to pay, their services would revert back to basic. This would mean the City would have to set up and hire its own dispatch, and 911 would forward the call to them. With full 911 services, dispatch at the 911 center deploys police, fire, ambulance, etc. directly and is able to track and manage the calls.
At last night’s City Commissioners Meeting, they approved the funding for 911 services, so the City of Kingfisher will continue having full 911 services, and the 911 center will close the gap in the funding they need to operate and bring their equipment up to date to best serve the people of Kingfisher County.