A renewal of the county-wide ambulance and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) levy will be one of the issues on the ballot for the Nov. 3 general election.
The 1.3-mill levy was first approved by the voters at the May 8 primary election in 2018, with 2,302 voting “for” and 1,681 “against.” The levy was originally estimated to bring in $1,040,000 but ended up bringing in $1,127,000, according to Fayette County Commissioner Dan Dean.
As previously reported, the following numbers were supplied via email by Fayette County Auditor Brenda Mossbarger —“On a $100,000 property, all county residents would pay an estimate of $45.50 based on the 1.3 Mill county-wide EMS levy.”
Now voters will decide if the levy will be renewed for another three years. If passed, it would once again bring in $1,127,000 and the renewed term will begin in the 2021 tax year.
Since $1,127,000 is all that can be brought in with the levy, according to Dean, that means as property values go up or new businesses come in, individuals will be paying less per person.
“The funds that are coming in now are sufficient. We predict it to last, to accommodate and everything, for at least the next three years. That’s why we did not want a replacement, but kept it on as a renewal,” explained Dean.
The levy assists in offsetting the cost of EMS services so the entire county can receive those services.
As previously reported, if the levy passes for renewal in November, according to Dean, “it’ll keep allowing the county to have the contract with Fayette (County Memorial) Hospital to operate the EMS service — the EMS service operates at a loss. We also recently purchased a new ambulance for that service. Hopefully, with these funds there will be enough money within that three-year period to continue to pay for the service so it can operate like it does now and possibly one more ambulance can be replaced in that time.”
A Jefferson Township EMS levy for 5 mills, which was originally voted in by Jefferson Township residents during the May 8 primary election in 2018 as well, is a continuing levy. It was passed by a 255-152 margin, as previously reported.
There have been tensions and threatened legal action for a double taxation on Jefferson Township residents for double EMS services that have yet to be resolved. As previously reported, Dean explained he does not identify it as a double taxation as there were two levies and voters chose to approve them or not.
According to Dean, legal counsel has instructed the commissioners that a township cannot be excluded from a county-wide levy, but two or more townships could create a joint ambulance district with their own board to place a tax levy to replace the county-wide levy.
“It’s a county-wide levy, we don’t have the ability to exclude anybody out of it,” said Dean.
To read Ohio Revised Code 505.71 Joint Ambulance District, please go to www.codes.ohio.gov/orc/505.71.
Reach journalist Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.