UNION TOWNSHIP — Union Township voters were asked to renew an ambulance levy at the polls this election.
The levy passed with 3,671 votes for, or 71 percent, and 1,468 against, or 29 percent, according to unofficial results from Tuesday’s election. There was a 77.25 percent voter turnout for this issue, or 5,409 actual voters of 7,002 registered.
The Miami Southwest Joint Ambulance District asked taxpayers for the renewal of a 1.5-mill property tax for ambulance and emergency services in the township. The renewal will be for five years, beginning in 2021 and first due in 2022.
The levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home approximately $150 per year.
According to Miami Southwest Joint Ambulance District Board President Doug Baker, this is a renewal of a property tax first introduced three years ago to support ambulances services in the township. Baker said funds from the levy will be used to continue to pay staff, and to purchase equipment and supplies and for building expenses. The Miami Southwest Joint Ambulance District does have a 1.0-mill permanent levy already in place for emergency services, Baker said, however additional funds were needed.
Baker said the Miami Southwest Joint Ambulance District Board is made up of one member each from Potsdam, Laura, West Milton, Ludlow Falls and person from the township. He said the board was started in 1974 to put a levy on the ballot to help better serve the township with ambulance services. Baker said the board dispenses the levy funds for the services to the contracted entity to perform emergency services to the township, which is currently, and has been for many years, the Union Township Life Squad. Contracts are three years in length, Baker said.
Baker said the renewal was essential to continue paying for staffing for someone to be on duty 24/7 for the first-out ambulance, which requires two people on staff to go out, Baker said.
Baker said second-out ambulance runs are performed by volunteers. However, he said the amount of volunteers has declined significantly throughout the years.
“I think that this is going to benefit everybody in the township, including the villages,” Baker said Wednesday morning. “This will benefit the health care of the people. Having a good ambulance service is beneficial to everyone.”