DIXON — Lee County Council has approved a resolution against the state’s hijacking of $5 million from the 911 system, over concerns it could create a burden on local governments.
The state budget includes the creation of a fund for the 988 program, which will be launched in July through the Illinois Department of Social Services, establishing a 24/7 call center for suicide prevention and mental health crises.
Lee County 911 Director Shelley Dallas spoke with the county council last month and said the 988 program was a good cause, but the $5 million transfer to pay for it is a “critical misuse of 911 funding” that will create operational funding gaps falling on the shoulders. local municipalities.
The board drafted a resolution in response to the concerns and unanimously approved it at the group’s meeting on Thursday.
According to the resolution, “this diversion will result in a funding shortfall for local 9-1-1 centers that must be paid for by local government units that have limited fiscal capacity and are already working under their own existing budget constraints.”
It further states that “The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a report in 2021 addressing U.S. Congressional concerns about the misuse of 9-1-1 surcharge funds, detailing acceptable expenditures for 9-1-1 surcharge funds. -1-1 whose funding for the 9 -8-8 initiative would not be eligible.
The resolution calls on the governor and the General Assembly to delay the transfer of funds and find another way to pay for the program.
The statewide 911 fund is funded by surcharges on the phone bills consumers pay.
In April, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police issued a statement against withdrawing money from the 911 system, fearing it could jeopardize federal funding.
“The $5 million sweep was conducted without the knowledge of law enforcement,” the statement said. “We are in close communication with the Illinois State Police and others on this matter to determine what our next best steps will be to protect our 911 centers and to ensure that Illinois suffers no consequences from the federal government by sweeping away 911 funds.”