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For the week of May 28 - June 3, 2003


$1 cell phone tax
OK’d for E-911

Express Staff Writer

Like their land-line cousins, cell phones in Blaine County will be taxed $1 monthly, starting in July, to help finance a new Emergency 911 system that will pinpoint the location of cell phone users in an emergency.

Voters approved the $1 tax on standard phones last November.

Sun Valley Police Chief Cam Daggett appeared before the Blaine County Commission on Tuesday to urge enactment of the special fee.

Daggett said that the first phase of a new technology pinpointing a cell phone users location would probably be operating in 12 to 18 months. In the first phase, 911 operators can determine a user’s location within a half mile. In the final phase of development, the 911 technologies, he said, would provide the precise location of a caller.

The same type of technology will be operating in 12 to 18 months to pinpoint the address of an emergency call from a home or business.

Former Hailey Mayor Al Lindley appeared briefly to urge the commission to speed up approval of cell transmission towers in the county.

"The process is horrendous for cell phone companies," he said.

Currently, seven cell phone companies have subscribers in Blaine County, according to Chief Daggett. But the number of cell phones is kept secret by companies.

In other actions, the commission:

  • Agreed to inquire why the Idaho Transportation Department declined to approve a $344,000 grant to purchase easement rights on 145 acres of private land west of the intersection of state Highways 75 and U.S. 20. Scott Boettger of the Wood River Land Trust told commissioners that two winning grantees apparently did not follow application rules while the losing application did. The land is owned by aging sisters Mardene Weston and Jean Scott, whose father purchased the tract many years ago.

  • Reappointed Commissioner Mary Ann Mix for another two years to the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority.

  • Adopted the ordinance banning operation of personal watercraft on Alturas and Pettit lakes in the Sawtooth Valley. The watercraft—commonly known as Jet Skis—have been condemned as too noisy and pollution for the tranquil lake settings.



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