Ambulance concerns in Hamilton County are resulting the in the County Board creating an Ambulance Services Committee. Chad May, arguably the most open and outspoken board member, was nominated and will serve as the chairman for that committee. The committee will also have representation from the rural fire protection districts, Sheriff’s Department, ETSB (Emergency Telephone Systems Board), Hamilton Memorial Hospital District, and Harre Ambulance Service. In case you missed it, a month ago, CEO of Hamilton Memorial Hospital addressed the board with concerns to say the current situation wasn’t working and the county would need to make changes and/or the hospital would be forced to. The issue, as has been laid out, is that Harre Ambulance is the only patient transport service in the county and is contracted to serve at the county’s disposal. The service is by volunteer and therefore while it’s vitally important, it’s also not a particularly well-paying job typically. The hospital says they must meet patient needs and guidelines. A spokesperson says they will have to outsource transfers without an answer putting the county board in the predicament of needing to come up with a solution. A Bellwether graphic estimates a $200,000 levy would add $45.89 in taxes for a median house valued at $91,500, or about $3.82 per month for ambulance services according to the graphic.
Hamilton County’s 2020 budget draft will be on display following approval at the Tuesday night meeting though it’s possible there will be changes due to the status of emergency services in the county.
The board also officially voted to hold a Truth in Taxation meeting Hamilton County had already advertised to be held on Thursday, October 24th from the Laborer’s Union Hall at 109 West Market Street at 6pm. That notice indicates a proposed property tax levy of $1,177,084, a 20.9% increase over the previous year. Corporate and special purpose property taxes to be levied are $1,089,584, a 33.1% increase. Any person or agency representative wanting to present testimony to the taxing district should contact the County Clerk’s office or appear at least 15 minutes prior to the hearing. Any comments will be limited to 5 minutes. Written testimony is also welcome but must be submitted to the County Clerk and will be entered into the record.