Both the Harris County commissioners and city of Houston officials approved the Greater Harris County 911 Emergency Network's $55.6 million budget for fiscal year 2024.

The GHC 911 network processes emergency calls for the 49 cities within Harris and Fort Bend counties as well as unincorporated areas of Fort Bend County.

The breakdown

This is the first year since 2018 that total operating expenditures have reached above $50 million, according to budget documents. FY 2024 includes a 3%-5% salary increase for the 289 GHC 911 staff as well as increased pay and health insurance costs for the 1,200-plus call center employees.

  • $28.6 million in call centers operation costs that includes call center employees, 51% of total
  • $7.6 million for network services, 14% of total
  • $6.2 million for the 289 GHC staff salaries, 11% of total
  • $4.8 million in contract services, 9% of total
  • $8.4 million in other general expenses, 15% of total

For several years, the agency has been transitioning to what it calls a Next Generation infrastructure to meet ongoing demands. According to budget documents, American Rescue Plan Act funding will go toward improving the infrastructure that provides services, such as:

  • Texting to 911
  • Having optional locations during hurricanes or natural disasters
  • Connecting with other 911 call centers

Next Gen infrastructure falls under network services costs.

By the numbers

The organization is funded mainly from service fee collections from landline and wireless telephone customers within both county jurisdictions.

  • Residential phone line users pay 80 cents per month
  • Business phone line users pay $1.40 per month
  • Wireless users pay 50 cents per month based on their phone provider

GHC officials are projecting revenue for FY 2024 to be $55.9 million.

  • $47 million in service fees
  • $6.3 million from grants allocated from the ARPA
  • $1.9 million in interest
  • $725,000 in other income


Leaders from both jurisdictions are required to approve the budget. Both the county and the city share in the emergency network’s systems, which, according to Executive Director Stan Heffernan, provides cost savings for all entities. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is responsible for the supervision and management of the 37 call centers.

“Significant work by the GHC 911 staff will continue in conjunction with other 911 entities and regulatory authorities to ensure that, when necessary, all new technologies allow anyone, at any time, from any place, using any device, to contact emergency services—fire, police or medical—by using the digits 911,” Heffernan said.