County considers wireless surcharge

CHENANGO COUNTY – Lawmakers agreed Monday to impose a 30-cent monthly tax on cell phone use in order to help underwrite Chenango County’s $3 million emergency communications tower project.

A request will be forwarded to the state’s legislature to enable the county to adopt, amend or repeal local home rule laws in order to impose the wireless surcharge. County Chairman Richard B. Decker said the process “could take a long time.”

A tax on cellular phone use is the right way to raise revenues for the 911 communications project, Chairman of the Safety and Rules Committee Alton B. Doyle, R-Guilford, said, because landline use, which is already taxed 34 cents per month, is down.

“There are so many cell phones lately, it just seems to be the right thing to do,” Doyle said. The committee suggested the new tax more than two years ago as a way to raise revenues to erect new towers and install microwave technology.

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