April 22, 2014

Creighton solves ambulance crisis with tax

The Garden City fire district had said it couldn’t continue providing ambulance service to the Creighton area unless the fire district there found a way to pay. Voters approved a property tax on April 8.

Creighton residents will soon be digging a little further into their pockets for ambulance service.

The Garden City Fire Protection District has provided ambulance service to the community of 349 people since 1992 under a verbal agreement.

But last year, Fire Chief Mark Lopez said Garden City could no longer afford to do so without financial help from the Creighton Fire Protection District. He said the district recouped only 6 percent of what it billed in the Creighton area.

The worry was that residents, as well as students attending Sherwood schools, would be left without local emergency transportation to a hospital.

Lopez said that Garden City had been in contact with Creighton for about five years in search of a way to fund the service. In the last year or so, he began nudging Creighton leaders to ask residents for a tax.

On April 8, voters in the Creighton district approved a levy of up 30 cents on every $100 of assessed value. The measure passed with 83 percent approval in both Cass and Henry counties.

Creighton residents already pay a tax of about 26 cents for fire protection.

“We’re in such a rural place,” said Creighton fire board member Paul Salmon. “We’re 30 minutes from Clinton and 30 minutes from Harrisonville. Hopefully it will help us out.”

Creighton isn’t obligated to stay with Garden City, but Salmon said it likely will.

The agreement, Lopez said, would be a good deal for patients.

“For the people in the Creighton district, they will not pay anything out-of-pocket other than what they’ll pay in tax. That is big.”

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