Logan County voters inside certain school districts will decide in November whether an Emergency Medical Service District should be formed. If approved, a tax levy will be placed on property owners within those school boundaries.
Logan County voters in the Covington-Douglas, Mulhall-Orlando, Coyle, Perkins-Tryon, Luther and Wellston school districts will decide if they will form an EMS District on November 6. Residents inside those school districts currently do not reside in an EMS district.
The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted Wednesday morning to send the ballot question to the voters with a 2-0 vote.
In the video below, the EMS discussion begins at the 16:45 mark.
District 3 Commissioner Monty Piearcy made the motion to approve. After some hesitation, District 2 Commissioner Mike Pearson responded, “I hate to think about raising taxes, but I agree that EMS is needed.” Pearson ultimately made the second to approve and both commissioners voted yes.
District 1 Commissioner Marven Goodman abstained from the vote. He reminded board members none of the school districts in question fall in his district and that EMS services in district one would not be affected regardless the outcome of the vote.
“It’s either yes or no and let the people decide if they’re going to do it or not,” Piearcy said to Pearson. “It’s not up to us (commissioners), it’s up to them to vote for it.”
The EMS question has been discussed on and off again for the past three years. Currently, county residents within the Guthrie, Crescent, and Cashion school districts have contracted EMS services. However, property owners in the proposed ballot measure do not pay a tax levy of three mills through an ad valorem tax but receive ambulance services.
Although not required after the 2010 passing of House Bill 1888, Guthrie EMS responds to calls outside the boundaries in Mulhall, Langston and Coyle unsubsidized. Crescent EMS goes outside of their boundaries to cover the Marshall area (roughly 58 miles) unsubsidized and Cashion EMS covers an area of four to five miles unsubsidized.
“The City of Guthrie is faced with shortfall in funding covering these areas unfunded. We want to work with you guys (commissioners) to come up with a plan to subsidize what we have been covering for at least 20 to 30 years with no funding,” Guthrie Fire Chief Eric Harlow said in a 2015 BOCC meeting. Related article: Video: Should all Logan County residents pay for EMS services?
Piearcy reminded the commissioners that a plan needs to be in place if the City of Guthrie elects not to provide service outside of their boundaries.
“The City of Guthrie might keep servicing them (residents outside of the boundaries), but they have come to me many times and said that they are thinking about not servicing outside of their boundaries,” Piearcy said. “That is going to leave all these people without ambulance service.”
Piearcy concluded by saying, “I think the taxpayers will be thrilled to have an ambulance service, if this passes.”