A majority of the Snohomish County Council on Wednesday approved a 20-cent-per-month excise tax increase on phone lines to pay for upgrades to emergency 911 communications.
The increase upped the county’s monthly 911 charge to 70 cents from 50 cents on land lines and cellular lines. It also imposed the monthly charge on voice-over-Internet-protocol lines, such as Skype, previously not subject to the excise tax.
The county risked losing about $700,000 per year in state funding if it did not impose the maximum charge under state law.
The County Council voted 4-1 for the increase, with Councilman John Koster in opposition. The changes take effect Jan. 1.