STANTON — A Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services millage will be up for renewal in the Aug. 7 primary election.
Voters will be asked whether to approve renewing 0.75 mills over three years to provide funds for maintenance and operations of ambulance and medical first response services from 2013 to 2016.
If the proposal is renewed, residents would pay 75 cents for every $1,000 of taxable value on their property. For example, a property with a $50,000 taxable value would cost $37.50 per year.
If the millage is renewed, $1,214,768.54 would be generated in the first year (2013).
EMS Director David Feldpaush and Deputy Director Eric Smith both want to emphasize to voters that the proposal is asking for a millage renewal — not a new millage.
“The ballot language is very confusing and is worded like we are asking for an increase,” Feldpausch noted. “The primary reason the millage is necessary is to continue to maintain the quality and availability of the services we provide to our community. Without the millage, we simply cannot provide all of the service we currently do and certainly not at the level the citizens have come to expect. The current reimbursement rates for ambulance service alone simply cannot sustain the quality and availability we expect from our EMS. Rescue services are still provided at no cost with very minimal options available for reimbursement other than individual patient payment.”
Locally, calls to EMS have increased by almost 1,000 since 2010 and have nearly doubled since 2000, according to Feldpausch.
In the meantime, EMS officials have been doing more with less. In the past, voters approved a full 1 mill for EMS. At that time, the EMS department only had four ambulances. Now, EMS officials are requesting just 0.75 mills and have increased the ambulance fleet of four to nine, replaced eight of 10 rescue units, replaced all high-maintenance units, replaced half the cardiac monitors and currently have two licensed back-up units in case of maintenance or repair work.
“The most important thing for citizens to realize is that it is just a renewal,” said Smith of the millage proposal. “The language on the ballot is kind of confusing and misleading, in my opinion. It’s not a new millage. It truly is simply a renewal.”
Feldpausch encourages anyone with questions to call him at (989) 831-7583.
MILLAGE PROPOSITION FOR AMBULANCE AND MEDICAL FIRST RESPONSE SERVICES
This millage will allow the County of Montcalm, Michigan to continue to levy the previous voted increase in the constitutional tax rate limitation on general ad valorem taxes of 0.7500 mills to provide funds for the acquisition, maintenance and operation of ambulance and medical first response services and equipment.
Shall the constitutional tax rate limitation on general ad valorem taxes within the County of Montcalm, Michigan, be increased by 0.75 mills ($0.75 per $1,000) on the taxable value of such property, subject to reduction as provided by law, for a period of four (4) years, 2013 through 2016, both inclusive, to provide funds for the acquisition, maintenance and operation of ambulance and medical first response services and equipment within the County of Montcalm, Michigan (such increase is estimated to provide revenues of approximately $1,214,768.54 in 2013 and includes a renewal of previously authorized millage in the amount of 0.7500 mills)?