Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden, Freeholder Director Tom Arnone and Deputy Director Lillian Burry were joined by a bi-partisan group of municipal elected officials, as well as public safety officers, at the County Public Safety Center in Freehold this morning where they called upon Governor Phil Murphy and the State Legislature to restore the $.90 monthly tax on every cell phone line to its intended purpose…the funding of New Jersey’s 192 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs).
Golden said that Governor Murphy’s proposed state budget diverts $150 million away from critical 9-1-1 infrastructure spending. The Sheriff said that New Jersey is one of only four states throughout the nation that divert the monthly fee cell phone users pay into their general fund and neglect the life saving technology investments of PSAPs. “The money New Jersey collects exceeds that the of other three states combined,” he said.
Golden said that New Jersey’s PSAPs are using antiquated dial up modem technology to locate citizens in need of emergency assistance while smartphone users can locate their family members instantly with the FindAPhone app. “This is unacceptable, particularly for public safety,” Golden declared.
“This is a public safety issue, not a partisan issue,” both Sheriff Golden and Director Arnone said.
Deputy Director Burry spoke out against pending legislation that would increase the monthly 9-1-1 fee to $.99 without sending any of the money to the counties and municipalities for their 9-1-1 technology.
“Good government should be a three way partnership between the State, County and the municipalities,” Director Arnone said. “In Monmouth County we have two of the three.”
“Governor Murphy is a Monmouth County resident,” Arnone continued. “He knows we are doing the right things here. We’re not asking him to give us money to plug a budget whole. We’re asking him, and the legislature to do the right thing.”