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Rock County disputes fee description

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ANN MARIE AMES
October 15, 2009
— Some Rock County officials are upset with the label on a fee recently added to telephone bills.

On Monday, Administrator Craig Knutson sent a letter to the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin complaining about the description of a state-imposed, 75-cent surcharge.


The letter asks the commission to help correct the “inaccurate and misleading wording.”


A Janesville resident’s AT&T bill was attached to the letter as an example. On that bill, the line item was described as “County 9-1-1 emergency services.”


Rock County does not put a charge on local phone bills for 911 services, the letter states.


“It’s not our fee, not our charge,” Assistant Administrator Phil Boutwell said.


The charge is the police and fire protection fee that was implemented Sept. 1. A description of the fee and a long list of frequently asked questions are available on the home page of the public service commission’s Web site, psc.wi.gov.


According to state statute, the fee should be listed separately and identified as a police and fire protection fee, said PSC spokeswoman Teresa Smith.


Once the commission gets the letter, it will be delivered to the division administrator who will read it and respond. Staff members could request copies of other phone bills in the area, she said.


The administrator would be responsible for negotiating with the phone company to change the wording on the bill if necessary, Smith said.



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