Utah County residents' phone bills are increasing 50 cents a month this fall, but county leaders say the hike will be well worth it in the long run.

The County Commission has passed a resolution authorizing a 50-cent surcharge in unincorporated areas to help fund implementation of an enhanced 911 system. The enhanced service uses computers to tell dispatchers a caller's address and phone number as soon as the dispatcher answers the call.The system has saved lives in other metropolitan areas by immediately providing dispatchers with essential information that callers, for various reasons, have been unable to provide.

Last month, members of the county's Council of Governments also voted to support implementation of the E911 system.

The commission still must sign a data-base resolution governing the gathering of necessary residential information needed to set up the E911 system. That resolution is expected to be signed Monday.

Orem and Provo already have begun collecting a 50-cent surcharge per residential phone line to finance the system's initial start up costs. The surcharge is expected to be added soon to phone bills in other county cities, which have entered into an interlocal agreement authorizing the collection surcharge.

The surcharge is expected to be in place about two years to fund estimated start up costs of $700,000. Afterward, the monthly charge will be decreased to about 35 cents a month to cover estimated monthly costs of $14,000.