Ballot mistake loss for serviceTaylor officials threw out results from June’s election regarding ambulance funding after a ballot error and it likely won’t be voted on again for two years.
Taylor officials threw out results from June’s election regarding ambulance funding after a ballot error and it likely won’t be voted on again for two years.
The issue was whether to levy three mils for ambulance service, said Alice Schulz, Stark County auditor.
The results were 83 yes votes and 33 no, she added.
However, because the issue was accidently put on rural Taylor residents’ ballots, the Taylor City Council has decided the vote must be thrown out.
“It was a city mil that we were going to put on, and we don’t have much jurisdiction in the county,” said Taylor Mayor Jim Wolf.
Schulz said it ended up on the wrong ballots because it was assumed the vote was for the Taylor Ambulance District.
“I don’t really think you can say that the rural people swayed the vote, but I can’t say exactly, either,” Schulz said.
Lea Floberg, Richardton-Taylor Ambulance Service squad president, said they asked for the funding to help pay ambulance volunteers $1.20 an hour to be on call.
The Legislature has allocated 70 percent of the $21,024 needed to keep an EMT and a driver on call 24 hours a day, Floberg said.
However, to keep that funding, they must come up with $6,307, she added.
Richardton and Taylor have helped in the past, but since the service has used donations and service charges to cover the 30 percent, they didn’t need city funds in recent years, officials say.
However, donations have been used up, so they turned to the cities, Floberg said.
“It would quickly deplete our funds if we paid that out without any assistance,” Floberg said.
Richardton will provide some of the funds, she added.
“Because we service Richardton and Taylor, we wanted to have Taylor help us out, too,” Floberg said.
Service charges will be used to cover what Richardton’s funding doesn’t, Floberg said, but that cuts into their budget.
“We use our other funds for equipment, training,” she said. “It’s not going to be too much longer and we’re going to need to look at purchasing a new ambulance.
That may be two to three years away but the service doesn’t have money to cover it.
The corrective options are to hold a special election or wait two years to have it put on the ballot again, Schulz said.
“They can’t put it on the ballot until November, and by that time we already have set our levies, or we’re working on levies, so it’s too late to get it for the 2011 year,” Schulz said.
A special election will not be held on the issue, according to Taylor Auditor’s Office.
Darryl Jurgens, Taylor City Council member, said if there was an urgent need for the funding, he would push for a special election.
He is disappointed at the turnout, “because we as a board had agreed that that’s the way it should be. We were all for that funding.”
He thinks other residents feel the same.
“They were really concerned that this was thrown out, because they thought that was a go-ahead,” Jurgens said. “You know, that’s their ambulance, that’s their way of getting to emergency services.”