Back in the mid-1990s, Fishers Island set up an enhanced 911 emergency response service that routed calls through an AT&T line to Connecticut and then to Southold police headquarters.
Suffolk County has been paying the cost of the dedicated phone line for more than a decade, but its cost has grown astronomically.
Matt Jones, chairman of the county’s 911 commission, and Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley discussed the problem with board members Tuesday.
Mr. Jones estimated that AT&T charged the county about $6,000 per month for the service in 2002, but the most recent bill reached $21,000.
The cost, he said, was not due to any increase in volume of 911 calls on the bucolic island, but due to AT&T’s fees for the dedicated line.
Fishers Island has its own telephone company, which contracts with AT&T for the 911 service. Mr. Jones urged the Town Board to pressure the phone company to discuss the problem with AT&T.
Fishers Island Justice Louisa Evans said she doubts the island telephone company can afford to carry the cost.
“It’s a county service. Our taxes pay for it,” she said. She suggested that Mr. Jones discuss the issues with the island telephone company.