The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

December 31, 2012

Ottawa County voters to decide expansion of ambulance district

MIAMI, Okla. — Voters in Ottawa County will decide on Jan. 8 whether the tax base for the local ambulance district will be expanded from Miami to include all of the county.

The Ottawa County commissioners have approved two resolutions to place the measure before voters.

In Miami, voters will be asked whether they want the ambulance district to cover all of the county. Outside of Miami, voters will be asked whether they would pay a 3-mill property tax to make the service a countywide operation. Three mills is equal to three-tenths of a cent. A mill is $1 of tax for each $1,000 of assessed valuation on real property

Voters must endorse both resolutions for the expansion to take place. Simple majorities are required for passage. They will be the only questions on the ballot.

Clint Epperson, ambulance service director for Integris Baptist Regional Health Center in Miami, said a county resident with a home assessed at $100,000 would see his property taxes increase by $38 annually.

The residents of Miami, he said, are already paying the tax.

“Nothing changes for the residents of Miami,” Epperson said. “If the resolutions pass, everyone in the county would pay the same to support the ambulance service.”

Residents of the county now pay $200 more for an ambulance call than those who live in the ambulance district, which is the same geographic area as the Miami School District. If the ambulance district is expanded, residents of the county no longer would pay the $200 surcharge.

Epperson said the ambulance district, now in its 34th year, has historically served residents throughout Ottawa County, though county residents have not financially supported the service, which is a joint effort of the Quapaw Tribe Fire/EMS and Integris Miami EMS.

The district’s EMS board, he said, is asking county residents for their support to allow the board to ensure that all residents of the county continue to receive ambulance service.

In 2011, the service responded to 3,150 calls. Of those, 61 percent were within the existing ambulance district and 39 percent were outside the district.

Epperson said the expansion is needed because of increasing costs associated with day-to-day operations, including fuel, supplies, maintenance and repairs, and because of declining reimbursements from Medicare.

“Costs are going up, and reimbursement is going down,” he said. “We need to unite as one countywide ambulance district to bridge the gap.”

The service lost more than $210,000 last year, Epperson said. Integris Baptist Regional Health Center covered the loss, but with so many cuts in health care funding, the hospital cannot continue to do so, he said.

The measures would increase the geographic area served by the district by about 55 percent. The service, Epperson said, has been able to reach almost any resident of Ottawa County in 15 minutes or less.

Expansion of the district would increase membership of the EMS board from five to seven members and give “all citizens of the county representation on the board,” Epperson said.

The district has seven advanced life support ambulances at four sites in the county, he said. Expansion of the district to a countywide operation would preserve the status quo. If one or both measures failed, major cutbacks could be in store, he said.

In addition, state statutes permit an ambulance service to not respond to service calls outside of a paid district.

Contact numbers

DETAILS ARE AVAILABLE from Sue Rendel, chairwoman of the EMS board, at 918-542-2092; Leon Crow, assistant chief of the Quapaw Tribe, at 918-533-4483, or Clint Epperson, ambulance service director for Integris Baptist Regional Health Center, at 918-533-7245.

1
Text Only
Top Stories
  • 042314 Rec funding Build a Lion_72.jpg Missouri Southern students to vote on new fee, going smoke-free

    Students at Missouri Southern State University will vote next week on whether they support creating a fee that would fund athletic and recreation projects. During the annual student senate-sponsored spring election, students also will be asked whether they support a completely tobacco-free campus.

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • New Kansas gun law draws support, some reservations

    At John’s Sports Center in Pittsburg on Thursday, firearms manager Adam Gariglietti said he supported Gov. Sam Brownback’s decision to sign a bill that will ensure it is legal across the state to openly carry firearms. But, he offered some words of caution. “It’s great that he signed the bill,” Gariglietti said. “But at the same time, common sense goes a long way.”

    April 24, 2014

  • Baxter Springs chili feed to raise money for family of girl facing surgery

    On a Sunday morning in February, 9-year-old Izzy Morris woke up her mother complaining of a headache. Teresa Morris gave her daughter medicine. But an hour later, the headache had worsened. “She was in a lot of pain and started screaming and yelling uncontrollably,” Morris said.

    April 24, 2014

  • Carthage budget committee hears proposal for water, sewer rate increases

    The proposed budget for the Carthage Water & Electric Plant, including increases in water and wastewater rates, dominated discussions Thursday night as the Carthage Budget Ways and Means Committee continued its review of proposed city budgets for the fiscal year starting July 1.

    April 24, 2014

  • 3 To Get Ready

    Three things coming your way in Friday’s Joplin Globe.

    April 24, 2014

  • Severe storms possible this afternoon

    A broken line of thunderstorms will continue to push east across Southeast Kansas and Southwest Missouri this afternoon, bringing a limited tornado risk, and elevated risks for hail and wind damage.

    April 24, 2014

  • Missouri lawmakers file three resolutions calling for impeaching governor

    While Gov. Jay Nixon was in Nevada, Mo., on Wednesday, a Missouri House panel led by Republicans began hearing arguments on three measures calling for impeaching him. Nixon has downplayed the proceedings as a legislative “publicity stunt.” One resolution, sponsored by Rep. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, is critical of Nixon for waiting several months to call special elections to fill three vacated House seats.

    April 23, 2014

  • r042314psumove2.jpg SLIDE SHOW: Moving day for biology and chemistry building at Pittsburg State

    They didn’t all go two-by-two, and the person in charge wasn’t named Noah, but nonetheless, critters of all shapes and sizes were on the move Wednesday. Students, volunteers and staff members helped Delia Lister, director of Nature Reach, relocate everything from a pair of prairie dogs to a vocal macaw named Charlie so that Heckert-Wells Hall — the biology and chemistry building where they are housed on the campus of Pittsburg State University — can undergo a $4.4 million transformation in the coming months.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos 1 Slideshow

  • Respond With Love flower.jpg Joplin pays it forward with flowers; residents asked to return bulbs ‘fostered’ for other towns

    Suzan Morang’s front yard bloomed brightly last year from a colorful array of bulbs that she will happily pass on to someone else this year. Morang, 1207 Xenia Court, is a participant in America Responds With Love, a national nonprofit organization that distributes bulbs to disaster-stricken cities.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 3 To Get Ready

    Three things coming your way in Thursday’s Joplin Globe.

    April 23, 2014