Mayor Jim Beadle is frustrated with charges to residents for phone calls to Kansas City, and he's trying to do something about it.
DeSoto Mayor Jim Beadle believes his city's residents are being unjustly charged for their long-distance telephone service to Kansas City -- and he's tired of it.
Beadle described the problem like this:
DeSoto residents live adjacent to the west edge of the Kansas City metropolitan telephone district and must pay long-distance charges for calls into the metro area.
Several years ago, the city asked to be included in the Kansas City calling district.
Representatives at Southwestern Bell said the company would lose too much money in the deal and instead offered an across-the-board increase in rates for all area customers who lived outside the Kansas City telephone district. The measure was voted down.
Southwestern Bell then offered MetroPlus, an optional monthly increase of $25 to residents and $45 to businesses who wanted to get local rates to the Kansas City area.
The plan was implemented in July.
Another option in effect is a lower-rate long-distance calling plan where participants buy blocks of long-distance service at a discounted rate.
The options frustrate Beadle who says the telephone company is making money off the arrangement.
"Southwestern Bell is reaping a huge profit off of us," he said. "They're making money hand over fist."
Mike Scott, Southwestern Bell area manager for external affairs, however, disagrees.
"I would contradict that wholeheartedly," he said. "This is not a money-making venture for Southwestern Bell."
Rather, Scott said the company is losing money in the agreement because it isn't getting the revenue it received before from long-distance calls.
"Anytime you lose toll revenues, you're going to lose money," Scott said.
"On our side of it," he said, "we have to draw the line somewhere."
Beadle, however, still intends to fight. In addition to beginning a letter-writing campaign, he intends to contact legislators to try to get the rates down.
"We're not to be daunted," he said. "We've been there before and we'll do what it takes."