Thursday, January 5, 2023

On the ballot: A property tax to fund countywide ambulance service

On the Ballot: A Property Tax to Fund Countywide Ambulance (EMS) Services

This April, Bates County voters will be asked to decide whether to keep emergency services funded in Bates County.

Bates County Commissioners and the Board of Trustees of Bates County Memorial Hospital have certified a joint resolution to place a ballot question on the April 4, 2023 ballot for a countywide property tax of $.50 on one hundred dollars assessed valuation for the purpose of maintaining and operating the ambulance service.

- The State of Missouri does not consider ambulance or emergency services as “essential” services. In Missouri, there are no laws requiring a county or the state to provide ambulance services.

- Currently, counties surrounding Bates have ambulance or fire/ambulance protection districts that are funded by property taxes at a rate of up to one dollar on $100 assessed valuation.

- In recent news, Drexel, Missouri was given notice that they would no longer be covered for ambulance services within the Cass County boundaries. The town of Drexel is not alone in suddenly finding themselves without ambulance services.

- Rural counties like Bates have a higher percentage of elderly residents and residents with limitations needing ambulance services. Longer transport times are directly correlated to patient outcomes.1

- Ambulance services in the boundaries of Bates County are fully funded as a department of Bates County Memorial Hospital (BCMH).

- Currently, the Ambulance Department at BCMH loses approximately $500,000 annually. This deficit is expected to grow with increasing costs of labor, equipment, vehicles, technology and fuel.

- Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements have not kept up with these increased costs.

- In the next several years, the anticipated cost to maintain the ambulance service within Bates County is estimated to be $1.25 million.

What it Means to the Taxpayer
The proposed property tax would apply to all Bates County citizens who pay property tax. Property taxes are placed on the assessed value of a property. Assessed value is not the same as fair market value (what it could sell for). To calculate how much this tax would impact your property taxes, look at your property tax statement and find the assessed value, divide that amount by 100, and multiply by .50.

The following examples were provided courtesy of the office of Jami Page, Bates County Clerk.

Example: Residential
A residential property with an appraised (or market) value of $100,000 in Bates County has an assessed value of $19,000. A half-dollar property tax on one hundred dollars assessed valuation is $95.00 per year (divide assessed valuation by 100 and multiply by .50).

Examples: Agricultural Property in Bates County
40 Acres, No Buildings, Good Soil: Appraised Ag value of $16,000.00 has an assessed Ag value of $1,920.00. A half-dollar property tax on one hundred dollars assessed valuation is $9.60 per year.

37 Acres Duck Ground, Low Class Soil: Appraised Ag value of $2,800.00 has an assessed ag value of $340.00. A half-dollar property tax on one hundred dollars assessed valuation is $1.70.
242 Acres (with Ag buildings), mostly good soil: Appraised Ag value of $93,600.00 has an assessed Ag value of $11,230.00. A half-dollar property tax on one hundred dollars assessed valuation is $56.15 per year.

Ambulance services were first offered in Bates County in 1973. On January 1, 1973, the City of Butler gave Bates County Memorial Hospital $10,000 in operating funds and a 1967 Oldsmobile High Top. In the following years, BCMH purchased and outfitted a fleet of ambulances, hired staff, and sustained all operating costs. Bates County is one of the few counties remaining in Missouri in which there is no tax base for ambulance services.

For 50 years, BCMH has sustained the cost of ambulance services for Bates County. We want to ensure our community continues to have access to these critical services both now and for generations to come.

Learn more: https://www.bcmhospital.com/tax/
or call 660-200-7046.

Disclaimer: Paid for by: Bates County Memorial Hospital; Gregory Weaver, CEO 615 W. Nursery St., Butler, Mo. 64730.

1 Source: Emergency Services Home Rules State Fact Sheet, January 31, 2022, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


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