Ambulance levy passes easily

By: 
Justin Post —
Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Livingston Fire and Rescue paramedics respond to a car accident in Livingston Jan. 21. (Enterprise file photo)

Voters easily approved a property tax increase for ambulance services Tuesday during a special mail-in election.

The $400,000 ambulance mill levy was requested to purchase new equipment and offset a budget shortfall for the Livingston Fire and Rescue ambulance service.

The mill levy was approved during a countywide mail ballot election with 61 percent of voters in favor of the increase. There were 2,657 votes for the mill levy and 1,683 votes against, according to results from the Park County Clerk and Recorder.

“I’m really glad that the city and county supported us in this,” said Fire Chief Ken MacInnes. “It will really help us going forward to hopefully start updating some equipment that’s reaching its life expectancy.

Because the ambulance serves residents of both the city of Livingston and Park County, property owners across the county will share in the tax increase.

The levy will cost the owner of a $250,000 home roughly $26 a year.

The new levy comes after voters last year turned down a $1.5 million emergency services mill levy, with $400,000 of that proposal funding the ambulance.

MacInnes said the levy will offset a roughly $250,000 to $300,000 annual budget shortfall while also allowing the ambulance service to make needed equipment upgrades.

MacInnes said his department will now have the money it needs to replace its four-wheel drive ambulance, which is used exclusively during winter months.

“It’s been broken down more than it’s been operational the past year,” he said. “The cost to keeping it running is just getting exorbitant.”

MacInnes hopes to have a new four-wheel-drive ambulance before winter arrives and said the goal is to eventually replace all of the department’s four ambulances.

“All four of our ambulances are getting long in the tooth,” he said.

The ambulance service’s cardiac monitors, which MacInnes said are used during virtually every call, also must be replaced in the coming years.

“I’m just thrilled that the city and county saw the need and they’re going to help us going forward with this,” MacInnes said. “It’s going to help us to continue to provide the level of service that we have in the past.”

Livingston City Manager Mike Kardoes offered similar comments.

“We really appreciate that the community understands the value of the ambulance service and it’s great because it really puts us in a good position for the next decade,” Kardoes said.