Ambulance tax hike approved
An new station in Avon will also be built with funds generated by the tax hike, which more than doubles the mill levy assessed on property owners in the district stretching from Wolcott to Vail Pass.
“It is good news,” said Lyn Morgan, general manager of the Ambulance District. “We’re grateful that voters recognize and support our services and the professional efforts of our staff.”
Voters approved a 1.253-mill property tax increase, bringing the district’s total mill levy to two mills, or $18.30 per $100,000 of home value.
The increase was approved by a fraction of voters, but it garnered a 60 percent margin -186 to 124.
The district’s 35 paramedics and EMTs responded to a record 456 calls in March, an average of 15 calls a day, Morgan said.
The previous record month had been 403 calls in January 2001. The district’s call rate has increased 8 percent each year over the past 10 years and its expenses are expected to increase to $2.8 million in 2002 from $2.4 million in 2001.
The Ambulance District gets half its funding from property taxes and the other half from billing patients. The fees patients are charged have increased but that’s not enough to keep up with growth in the valley, Morgan said.
“This is going to allow us to continue a high level of advanced life support,” Morgan said.
The Ambulance District has full-time crews at its stations in Vail and Edwards. It coped with an increase in calls this winter by adding a temporary, third full-time crew.
The tax hike will allow the district to make that crew permanent, Morgan said.
Ambulance District officials also hope to build a third station in Avon, preferably at the Village at Avon shopping mall being built alongside Interstate 70 on the eastern edge of town.
The Ambulance District decided to seek the tax increase when it realized that population growth in the valley was soon going to put a strain paramedics, Morgan said.
“We’ll have a revenue flow that will more approximate the rate of growth,” Morgan said. “As a district and a board of directors that’s solely dedicated to emergency medical care, we’re going to continue to work hard for the good of the community.”