Fire Protection District takes funding ambulance service to voters
The Concordia Fire Protection District of Lafayette, Johnson and Saline counties has called for an election, to be held April 2, seeking a tax increase to help fund emergency ambulance service and operations of the district.
Terry Kammeyer, chairman of the district’s Board of Directors, offered a brief history of the district.
“Fifty years ago our local funeral home gave its ambulance to the city of Concordia,” Kammeyer said. “At that time, the city approached the Concordia Fire District about running the ambulance service. We started running the ambulance service on March 1, 1969, as a self-supporting service.”
Now, 50 years later, it is one of the last self-supporting ambulance services in the state of Missouri. The ambulance works out of the Concordia Fire Station, and the service pays half of the expenses of the fire district building, Kammeyer said.
“We purchased our ambulances in 2007 and 2008 for $90,000 each,” he said. “The city of Concordia, along with donations (from) organizations and individuals in the Concordia area, purchased these ambulances. We also receive memorial gifts to help fund the service.”
Kammeyer said that, at the present time, the district has $50,000 in a new ambulance fund. New ambulances now cost $225,000, and the city no longer provides funding for the district, he added.
“We are losing about $30,000 per year on our service right now,” he said. “Medicare tells us what we can collect on calls. Thirty-percent of our calls are not paid by the person being transported. We have funding left for about two years of service. This does not include funding for new ambulances and equipment.”
According to a flyer provided by the district, EMS services are not supported by any tax dollars at this time. All expenses are currently paid for by for billing services, some of which are not being paid by the patients or their insurance company.
Citizens within the district will have the opportunity to vote on a new property tax in the April 2 election. The levy will be collected by the Concordia Fire Protection District and will tax all citizens of the district.
“The tax levy we are asking for will be 30 cents per one hundred dollars assessed valuation. This is in addition to the current 30-cent tax levy for the fire district,” Kammeyer said. “If this levy is approved, we would not receive funding until 2020. If it fails, we will have to contract with an outside service in the near future, and we are unsure what that will cost.”