COVINGTON, Ky. - Kenton County leaders reached a tie vote Tuesday night on whether to add a surcharge for 911 services to Duke Energy customers' monthly bills in Northern Kentucky.
Traditional land-based customers in Kenton County currently pay a few dollars extra per month to fund one of the county's three dispatch centers. Cellphone customers only pay a few cents more each month.
In order to create a fair distribution of the financial burden, a $6 surcharge was proposed to add on to residents' Duke Energy bills.
The ordinance would be a fair way for everyone in the county to fund one of the county's three dispatch centers, according to Kenton County Judge Executive Steve Arlinghaus. The county is currently working to consolidate those centers into one.
"We are losing 3 to 4 percent of the land lines annually and as those numbers continue to increase we can not fund this operation and sustain it on a long term basis so we feel placing the utility fee on the electric meter for example is the only fairest way to make that happen," said Arlinghaus.
County commissioners voted 2-2, on the issue. Arlinghaus and Commissioner Dr. Jon Draud voted yes. Commissioners Beth Sewell and Kris Knochelmann voted no.
Duke Energy officials have stated that the company will do whatever it takes to prevent Kenton County from forcing the fee on customers including legal action.
"Ultimately we believe this is an overreach of the county and we believe this is something they do not have the legal authority to pursue and we are exploring all avenues to protect our customers and our right as a private business," said Blair Schroeder, Duke Energy Spokesperson.
Since the vote was a tie, the county is now looking at another funding source. One proposal calls for an $80 annual service fee for property owners in Kenton County with the bill going out this fall.
The Kenton County Fiscal Court will meet again to discuss the proposals at the Independence Courthouse on Aug. 14 at 9 a.m.
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