Division of State Police

Cellular Surcharge Revenues

In 1989, the State Legislature passed the Enhanced Emergency Telephone System Surcharge Law (Law). The Law imposed a monthly fee on land telephones to help pay for enhanced emergency communications systems, which automatically connect a 9-1-1 caller to a public safety answering point that identifies the callerís number and geographic location. In 1991, the Law was amended to establish a monthly surcharge on all cellular telephones in the State. Surcharge revenues, which cellular providers remit to the Division of State Police (Division), are available to support Division costs for operating a cellular 911 emergency telecommunications network and for coordinating emergency response for cellular users.

Our audit found that the Division has collected more than $162 million in surcharge revenue since 1991, but that it does not know how many providers should be remitting revenues and does not verify the revenues it receives. We also found that, while cellular users have paid surcharges for years, there is no enhanced cellular 911 service operational anywhere in the State. Further, the Division spent surcharge revenues on a wide variety of goods that do not appear to relate to cellular 911. To improve accountability over surcharge revenues, we recommend the Division propose legislation in conjunction with the Department of Taxation and Finance (Tax) to transfer responsibility for collecting and accounting for surcharge revenues to Tax. We also recommend that the Division better account for expenditures of surcharge revenues, and that it develop plans for enhanced cellular 911 implementation. Cellular users would benefit from enhanced cellular 911, and surcharge revenues are available to support this service.

For a complete copy of Report 2001-S-27 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.