On June 2, the Madison County Ambulance District is asking the community to vote on "Proposition Property Tax Relief."
The proposition reads, "Shall the Madison County Ambulance District mandatorily reduce the District's property tax levy by imposing a sales tax of up to one half of one per cent for the purpose of providing revenues for operation of the District and thereby the total property tax levy on property within the District shall be reduced annually by an amount which reduces property tax revenues equal to fifty percent (50%) of the previous year's sales tax revenue collected for this sales tax?
It is projected that the mandatory formula will reduce the property tax to zero."
Madison County Ambulance District Administrator Robbie Buesking said the purpose of the proposition is to broaden the tax base and thereby relieve the burden on property tax payers.
"This helps the district by adding potential revenue that could increase in the future whereas the property tax would not provide this opportunity," Buesking said. "Sales tax is based on the economy, with the growth of the economy, the need for EMS will increase as should the revenue needed to support such increase."
Buesking said if the proposition is passed a mandatory roll back of property tax would lower the tax payer's property tax burden.
"With a sales tax, visitors that frequent our county who currently provide no tax revenue would now be contributing to the growth and success of the district," Buesking said. "We expect to see an increase in the district's yearly operating budget."
Buesking said the additional funding is needed for recruitment and retention of qualified paramedics.
"This is the No. 1 management challenge nationwide in EMS," Buesking said. "Meeting this challenge is the key to the district's ability to maintain Advanced Life Support. In addition to the ever rising cost of advance medical equipment, dependable vehicles, maintenance and medical supplies make additional revenues essential."
Buesking said this type of tax proposition has been passed in 57 other ambulance districts in Missouri by wide margins.
"We feel that broadening the tax base not only benefits the future of the district but is also a more fair way of funding the district," Buesking said. "EMS is crucial in rural communities as a person is five times more likely to survive a sudden cardiac arrest and 2.5 times more likely to survive a major traumatic injury. EMS is the community's first line of defense in a medical emergency."
Buesking said the district looks forward to continuing to provide Advance Life Support service to its community members. He said anyone with questions or concerns can feel free to forward a call to him at 573-783-7900.
Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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