Division of State Police
Department of State
Department of Taxation and Finance

Status of Enhanced Wireless 911 Emergency Services and Accountability Over Wireless 911 Surcharge Revenue

In 1991, the State Legislature established a monthly surcharge on all cellular telephones in the State. Surcharge revenue was to be used by the Division of State Police to operate a cellular 911 emergency telecommunications network and to develop enhanced wireless emergency communications services. In our prior audit report 2001-S-27, we examined the Divisionís use of and controls over surcharge revenue. We found that the Division used surcharge revenue to support its public safety programs in general, and had not developed enhanced emergency communications services. We recommended that such services be developed. We also found that surcharge revenue was not adequately accounted for by the Division, and as a result, it was likely that significant amounts of surcharge revenue were not being collected. To improve accountability over the revenue, we recommended that the responsibility for collecting and accounting for surcharge revenue be transferred to the Department of Taxation and Finance.

Subsequent State legislation transferred the revenue collection responsibility to the Department of Taxation and Finance, and created within the Department of State an administrative entity (the New York State 911 Board) that is responsible for coordinating the development of enhanced wireless emergency communications systems throughout the State. In our follow-up review, we reviewed the progress that had been made in establishing such systems and in improving accountability over surcharge revenue. We found that a good deal of progress has been made in the development and coordination of wireless emergency communications systems, and some progress has been made in improving accountability over surcharge revenue. However, additional improvements are needed if surcharge revenue is to be adequately accounted for.

For a complete copy of Report 2003-F-9 click here.
For a copy of the State Police 90-day response click here.
For a copy of the Tax and Finance 90-day response click here.