Macomb 91.3fm - Galesburg 90.7fm Keokuk 89.5fm - Burlington 106.3fm
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Lee County approves EMS tax levy by wide margin

Will Buss

The head of Lee County Emergency Medical Services said a newly approved increase to the county’s property tax levy will give his department much needed funding.

“It's definitely going to enhance things in the future,” said EMS Director Mark Long. “It gives us the ability to make sure we have the staffing, the training and the equipment that we need.”

He said the levy will help ensure that ambulances are staffed with paramedics, and that other first responders continue to serve residents across the county.

Lee County voters approved the tax levy during Tuesday’s special election with 76% in favor. It needed support from at least 60% to pass.

Long said the tax levy -- a 75-cent increase on every $1,000 of county residents’ property value -- would amount to an additional $42 to the average homeowner’s property tax bill.

“We've been operating with a little bit of a deficit for a while now, supplemented by the general fund,” he said. “This gives us money that's earmarked for EMS to give us that financial stability moving forward.”

The tax levy will go into effect on July 1 and will be assessed on residents’ September property tax bill. Long said the county EMS department will receive that revenue in October.

The levy will remain in effect for the next 10 years. Long said county leaders could then revisit the levy and consider whether to continue it.

“It will have to go back to a vote again but, yes, we'll absolutely reassess it and see if we still need the same amount,” he said.

“Hopefully, at that point, we can lower the amount that's levied for it a little bit. But, you know, 10 years is a long way away. So, we'll reassess it and see where we're at then, and we’ll have to go back to the voters again and see.”

As of now, revenue for the county EMS typically does not cover the cost of the service. For instance, Long said the county typically receives a bill for $730 for an ambulance call, but Medicaid will only pay $120 for it.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.