Telephone calls to Kansas City, Kan., would cost Tonganoxie residents less if the city succeeds on its third try for a special long-distance calling program.
Dan Gutshall, chairman of the Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce's economic development committee, said the city is working to secure the Optional Community Calling Service for callers on the 845 telephone exchange. Customers would subscribe to the service and receive reduced rates on calls to the Kansas side of the Kansas City metropolitan area, he said.
To qualify for the program, the city must submit a petition with at least 200 signatures of interested residents to Southwestern Bell, which submits it to the Kansas Corporation Commission. Gutshall said the city will submit its petition in June.
Southwestern Bell also will monitor the city's calling patterns during May, June and July. Residents and businesses must make an average of 10 calls per month to Kansas City, Kan., and at least 51 percent of telephone accounts must average a bill of $5 or more to the Kansas City area.
During the last attempt, Tonganoxie met the first criteria, but fell short of the second by 5 percent.
"We were real close, so we think we can do it this time," Gutshall said.
The service provides an hour's worth of calls to the Kansas City, Kan., area for a base fee of $4 plus 6 cents per minute each month. Without the program, the costs of calls to Kansas City are 32 cents for the first minute and 20 cents for each following minute between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.; 21 cents for the first minute and 13 cents for each following minute between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m.; and 14 cents for the first minute and 9 cents for each following minute between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.
Gutshall said the service especially interests Tonganoxie residents with friends and relatives in the Kansas City, as well as local businesses.
"We get a lot of interest, particularly from our members in the chamber of commerce who make a lot of calls to the Kansas City area," he said. "It would have a very positive effect for Tonganoxie."
If the application for OCCS is denied, the city will have to wait 15 months before applying again, Gutshall said, adding the city hopes to know the Kansas Corporation Commission's decision by early September.