DES MOINES – On election day, 8 Iowa counties will have a referendum on their ballots to decide whether or not to add a tax to fund emergency medical services.
Calhoun, Floyd, Jones, Kossuth, Pocahontas, Osceola, Winnebago, and Worth counties will all have the referendum.
EMS services have struggled to provide service to rural areas due to funding. The referendums on the counties ballots will decide how much if any funding EMS services will get.
Britt Smith, the Monticello Chief of Police, said that without proper funding EMS services will be severely affected.
“Increased response times, lesser quality responders, maybe no response at all in some areas.” Smith said, “We of course have a commitment and dedication to the residents of Jones county and will all do our very best to ensure that a call is answered, but it is a very real possibility as our expenses continue to climb and revenues continue to diminish.”.
The specific amount taxed by each county varies but in general it is ￠75 or less per $1000 of assessed property value and 1% of state income tax.
Smith said that even though no one wants to pay higher taxes, it is worth it to ensure they have access to EMS services.
“You don’t want to get in a position where you’ve gambled and said I wont support this financially and then run the scenario where you are in need of an ambulance.” Smith said, “So you’re playing a bit of Russian roulette there by saying I don’t want to support this because I don’t want my taxes to go up.”.
The referendums need at least 60% of the vote to pass.