On the ballot for the March 20, 2012 general primary election will be referendum questions where Village Officials will be seeking direction from Matteson citizens.
E-911 Surcharge Referendum
Matteson will be seeking to increase the emergency telephone system surcharge to $2.75 per month per phone line in each home or business in the community. The purpose of the increase is to maintain and/or improve the 9-1-1 Emergency Telephone System for years to come. The Village of Matteson is a member of the SouthCom Combined Emergency Center which dispatches fire, police and emergency medical services to the Villages of Matteson, Olympia Fields, Park Forest and Richton Park. The service area covers more than 1,900 square miles within Cook and Will Counties and services approximately 65,000 citizens and businesses. In 2010 alone, SouthCom answered more than 119,000 phone calls and dispatched more than 65,000 calls when residents were in need of emergency services.
SouthCom dispatchers serve a critical role in directing emergency personnel 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Around the clock, these highly trained dispatchers answer 9-1-1 calls and send fire and police units on their way to a life safety call or the alarm of criminal activity. All SouthCom professionals are certified in Emergency Medical Dispatch. This allows them to provide pre-arrival "self help" instructions to citizens during medical emergencies in the critical few moments while fire fighters, paramedics, ambulance or police are on their way to the emergency.
How SouthCom is paid for is the purpose of the referendum question on March 20th. Emergency dispatching services are funded through a combination of user fees and property taxes. In Matteson, the current surcharge is $.80 per month per phone line in the home. This amount was established by referendum in 1989, when Matteson residents approved the rate. The rationale behind considering a referendum increase in 2012 directly relates to financial trends associated with the Village's membership in SouthCom. On the expense side, costs continue to escalate with staffing and technology evolutions so as to maintain the current excellent level of service. Meanwhile, the 911 surcharge revenue stream has continually declined over the past several years.
The Village's cost of membership in SouthCom is $976,000 for the current year. With only about $191,000 in surcharge revenues, the Village's support of this dispatching service is more than $785,000. These dollars come from the Village's general fund - or property taxes collected from residents.