McKenzie County Ambulance Service is asking voters to “Vote Yes” on “County Measure 1” in the June 12 election, so they can form a taxing district to raise funds to balance their annual budget.
“Currently we are losing $160,000 dollars a year, ” said Jim Johnsrud, Board President for McKenzie County Ambulance.
Johnsrud attributes the loss in revenue to reduced insurance payments and patients simply not paying their bills, but he also anticipates a reduction in state and federal grants.
“We have grant money coming from oil impact that the state is telling us is probably not going to be available in 2019”.
The ambulance service gets more than $200, 000 dollars from oil impact grants, but they hope to make up the loss in funds with the new property tax.
“We hope to be asking for 2.5 mills which would be about $11.25 for about $100,000 worth of property,” said Johnsrud.
Lindsay Veeder and her mother Beth, who own and operate the business Door 204 in Watford City,ND said they would support the measure “100 percent” in the June 12 election.
“This is a great community, and I think we all support each other, and I think it is something our community will support, ” said Lindsay Veeder.
However, some voters aren’t quite ready to vote yes
“At this time I’m not sure how I am going to vote. I think I need to do more research before I go to the polls, ” said Erin Perry who operates Beaver Creek Creations in Watford City, ND.
If the measure isn’t passed in June, the ambulance service will have to go with Plan B.
“We could go back to basic life support . . not have paramedics on our service. That would help cut the cost, ” said Johnsrud.
Thirty five people make up the staff for the McKenzie County Ambulance service and it covers one of the largest service areas in the state at 1,640 square miles.
The McKenzie County Ambulance service said it responds to around a 1000 calls every year.