Lack of cellphone surcharge for 911 costs counties

Many Missouri counties are scrambling to make up the difference between the cost to run emergency 911 services and the amount of money coming in through landline surcharges.

A measure filed in the state Legislature this year would have allowed counties to ask voters for a cellphone surcharge to fund 911. The Kansas City Star reported that the bill made it through the House, but the session ended before the Senate got to it.

Missouri remains the only state in the U.S. where cellphone users don't have to pay a 911 surcharge.

In Kansas, each phone customer pays 53 cents monthly for any device capable of contacting 911, whether it's a landline or wireless. But in Missouri, voters twice have rejected a statewide fee on cellphones for 911 service.