Archive for Thursday, September 16, 2004

City boosts EMS funding in budget

September 16, 2004

Eudora EMS benefited from last-minute tinkering with the city's 2005 budget Monday night before the Eudora Council approved the document. The Council boosted money budgeted next calendar year for the local EMS crew from $5,000 to $15,000.
Amy Miller of Eudora EMS said as far as equipment went, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical provided EMS the basics, but she said the local crew was looking to go beyond that.
Mayor Ron Conner said earlier in the meeting it was the city's understanding that equipment and training were provided by Lawrence-Douglas County and the city provided for the vehicles.
"I don't think you'll hear any argument from anyone on the Council that there needs to be support," Conner said.
Eudoran Bill Whitten, the only citizen to speak during the public hearing on the budget, lobbied for more city money for EMS, citing Lawrence-Douglas County's limitations and the number of calls, the majority of which were made in Eudora's city limits.
"I think an increase would be a benefit to the city of Eudora," Whitten said.
Council member Scott Hopson said he'd also like to see EMS get help purchasing more uniforms for responders.
To budget another $10,000 for Eudora EMS without changing the budget's bottom line, the Council had to shift money away from fire department salaries. The Council had earlier discussed holding off on hiring full-time firefighters until a full crew of four could be hired simultaneously.
Hopson cited statistics that showed Eudora's 65-and-older population was above the national average, making EMS all the more important.
"EMS calls are going to keep growing," Hopson said. "The money's well-spent."
Eudora EMS will also have a fund-raiser Sept. 25 at Sonic Drive-In, 1420 Church St. From 4 to 10 p.m., local EMS personnel will work as car hops, with proceeds benefiting training and equipment for Eudora EMS.
Prizes will be given out, and cars -- including those of Eudora drag racers Kevin Miller and Roger Broers -- will be on display.
With the budget approved, the Douglas County Clerk will set the mill levy, estimated at 18.402 mills. A mill is tax assessed on $1,000 worth of property. A house can be assessed for property tax on 11.5 percent of its value. For a $150,000 house, that's $17,250. With the estimated mill rate, such a homeowner would pay about $317 annually to the city.
Changes in residents' rent can vary, but landlords are taxed at a higher rate -- on 30 percent of the value of the rental property.
Property owners are also responsible for taxes from the state, school districts and other special districts like those for cemeteries and fire protection. Such entities use property tax as one of several means of revenue.

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