This is EMS Week – a week to honor all of our local heroes who drop everything to come to our aid during a medical emergency, whether it’s an accident, a heart attack or a fall.
And while they’re a vital service to our communities, they’re not always recognized as such – with funding a struggle for many EMS services across the state. But in Jones County, a new levy just approved last fall will help to bring in a steady revenue stream.
Britt Smith is the Monticello Police Chief, who also serves as Administrative Director for the Monticello Ambulance Service. Smith gives credit to some of the lobbyists in EMS, who have spent time in Des Moines pushing lawmakers to make significant improvements to EMS across the state.
Jones County’s EMS levy went up for a vote last fall, with residents asked to pay 35 cents for every $1,000 of property value. And residents overwhelmingly supported it.
The levy went into effect after the November election, with assessments starting with the March 2023 tax assessments. Any money generated from the levy and collected by the County Treasurer will be eligible to be dispersed by the end of the year. Smith says the EMS Advisory still needs to establish the policies for disbursement for how and by what process Jones County’s EMS services will request funding. But the general idea is that it will be spread out among nine Jones County EMS services and Smith says each one operates in a different way.
So what would have happened if the Jones County EMS levy had not passed? Smith believes a lot of the rural services would have continued to struggle to the point where they would not have been able to provide service for their area – which would have put a greater burden on the paid services to pick up some of those shortfalls.
Jones County was among a small handful of counties in Iowa who passed an EMS levy last November – and Smith says it’s prompted other counties, including Delaware County, to look into implementing an EMS levy too.
photo courtesy of Monticello Ambulance Service