Section 11-98-5Monthly statewide 911 charge.
(a) A single, monthly statewide 911 charge shall be imposed on each active voice communications service connection in Alabama that is technically capable of accessing a 911 system. For each digital transmission link, including primary rate interface service or Digital Signal-1 (DS-1) level service, or equivalent, that can be channelized and split into 23 or 24 voice-grade or data-grade channels for voice communications, a subscriber shall be assessed on the number of channels configured for or capable of accessing a 911 system. If the number of such channels so configured is not readily determinable, the service charge per DS-1, or equivalent, shall be assessed on 23 voice communications service connections. The 911 Board shall also establish a maximum number of wireline 911 charges to be imposed at a single subscriber location for bills rendered on or after January 1, 2015, following the same procedures and deadlines provided in this subsection for a subsequent adjustment to the initial statewide 911 charge, which shall not be counted against the number of permitted rate adjustments during such fiscal year. For CMRS providers, the statewide 911 charge shall be levied on each CMRS connection with a primary place of use in the State of Alabama. The statewide 911 charge is payable by the subscriber to the voice communications service provider. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the voice communications service provider shall list the statewide 911 charge separately from other charges on the bill and the charge shall be collected according to the regular billing practice of the voice communications service provider. The statewide 911 charge collected under this section shall not be subject to taxes or charges levied on or by the voice communications service provider nor shall the charges and fees be considered revenue of the voice communications service provider for any purposes. Partial payments made by a subscriber are applied first to the amount owed for voice communications service. The 911 Board shall collect from each voice communications service provider the monthly statewide 911 charges prescribed herein. The initial statewide 911 charge shall be developed by the 911 Board at an amount calculated to produce, after deduction of administrative fees specified in this chapter, annual total revenues equal to the annual 911 fees collected by or on behalf of, or owed to, districts and governmental bodies, as calculated for purposes of the base distribution amount under subdivision (3) of subsection (b) of Section 11-98-5.2, plus, without duplication, (1) the amount of CMRS service charges collected by the CMRS Board for the 12 months ending September 30, 2011, and (2) an amount equal to any other taxpayer funding of E-911 systems by counties or municipalities in areas where no separate 911 fee is imposed. The revenues and other funds used to determine the initial statewide 911 charge shall be hereafter referred to as the baseline 911 revenues. The statewide 911 charge shall be uniformly applied and shall be imposed throughout the state, and shall replace all other 911 fees or 911 taxes. The 911 Board shall certify that the initial statewide 911 charge adopted herein is reasonably calculated so as not to exceed the funding requirements of this chapter. The board shall submit the recommended statewide 911 charge to the Permanent Oversight Commission for review and approval no later than March 1, 2013. The Permanent Oversight Commission may reject the recommended statewide 911 charge and specify an alternative charge, calculated in accordance with this chapter, by an affirmative vote of six of its members; provided, however, in no case may the Permanent Oversight Commission establish a rate which reduces funding below that necessary to produce the baseline 911 revenues as established under this chapter. Failure of the Permanent Oversight Commission to reject the recommended statewide charge and specify an alternative charge within 30 days of submission shall result in the charge being deemed approved for implementation on October 1, 2013, without the need for further action. Should the Permanent Oversight Commission reject the recommended statewide 911 charge and specify an alternative rate, it shall specify the basis for its action to the board, which may, by a supermajority of 60 percent of a quorum of its members, reject the alternative charge in favor of its original recommended charge or a lower charge. The statewide 911 charge established by the 911 Board following such second review shall not be subject to further review by the Permanent Oversight Commission and shall take effect automatically on October 1, 2013. Failure of the 911 Board to reject or modify the alternative charge submitted by the Permanent Oversight Commission within 30 days of submission shall result in the alternative charge being deemed approved for implementation on October 1, 2013, without the need for further action.
(b) A voice communications service provider shall remit the statewide 911 charge collected by it under this section to the 911 Board, utilizing such electronic or paper reporting forms that may be adopted by the 911 Board by rule. The provider shall remit the collected charges by the end of the calendar month following the month the provider received the charges from its subscribers. A voice communications service provider may deduct and retain from the statewide 911 charges it receives from its subscribers and remits to the 911 Board an administrative allowance in an amount equal to one percent. The voice communications service provider shall maintain records of the amount of the statewide 911 fees collected for a period of at least two years from the date of collection. Good faith compliance by the voice communications service supplier with this chapter shall constitute a complete defense to any legal action or claim that may result from the voice communications service provider's determination of nonpayment or the identification of service users, or both.
(c) Subject to succeeding provisions of this subsection:
(1) The 911 Board, from time to time but in no event more than once every fiscal year, shall increase or decrease the rate of the statewide 911 charge by an amount reasonably calculated to produce the baseline 911 revenues, plus any additional revenues necessary to meet the requirements of subdivision (6) of subsection (b) of Section 11-98-5.2.
(2) The 911 Board, not later than October 1 in the year 2018 and each fifth year thereafter, shall adjust the 911 charge to produce an increase in the baseline 911 revenues sufficient to increase the amount distributed to each district under this chapter during the immediately preceding fiscal year by an amount equal to the rate of growth, determined as a percentage, in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for such five-year period. Once adjusted as provided in this section, the resulting revenues shall become the baseline 911 revenues until amended or adjusted under the procedures established in this chapter.
(3) Any adjustments to the statewide 911 charge pursuant to this subsection shall follow the same procedures, standards, and deadlines provided in subsection (a) for review of the initial statewide 911 charge, with the exception that the adjustment shall be effective at a date set by the board at least 90 days after, as applicable, the expiration of the time period for action by the Permanent Oversight Committee on the adjustment or the 911 Board's action in adopting a final adjustment following action by the Permanent Oversight Committee. In addition, the 911 Board, not less than 90 days prior to the effective date of any such increase or decrease in the rate of the statewide 911 charge, shall notify each voice communications service provider and CMRS provider of such increase or decrease, as the case may be. Notwithstanding any provision of this subsection to the contrary, in no event shall the revenues produced by the statewide 911 charge exceed the amounts deemed by the 911 Board to be necessary to satisfy the requirements of this chapter.
(d) A voice communications service provider has no obligation to take any legal action to enforce the collection of the statewide 911 charge billed to a subscriber. The 911 Board may initiate a collection action, and reasonable costs and attorney's fees associated with that collection may be assessed against the subscriber. A voice communications service provider shall quarterly report to the 911 Board the amount of the provider's uncollected service charges. The 911 Board may request, to the extent permitted by federal and state privacy laws, the name, address, and telephone number of a subscriber who refuses to pay the statewide 911 charge.
(e) No district may impose a service charge or other fee on a subscriber to support a 911 system.
(f) At any time after October 1, 2013, should the 911 Board determine that the revenues allocated to CMRS providers under subdivision (7) of subsection (b) of Section 11-98-5.2 for reimbursement to CMRS providers exceed those necessary to meet funding requirements, it may distribute any excess revenues in accordance with subdivision (1) of subsection (b) of Section 11-98-5.2.
(Acts 1984, No. 84-369, p. 854, §3; Acts 1992, No. 92-562, p. 1165, §1; Acts 1992, 2nd Ex. Sess., No. 92-706, p. 181, §1; Acts 1995, No. 95-667, p. 1378, §1; Acts 1996, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 96-47, p. 62, §3; Act 2012-293, p. 592, §1; Act 2014-431, §1.)