Voters in the Village of Woodville and Woodville Township will face a levy Nov. 6 that could well determine the future of Emergency Medical Service in the Sandusky County community.
A 4-mill, 5-year ballot issue that includes a replacement levy of 2.5 mills and an increase of 1.5 mills will, if passed, generate about $277,000 annually – about $131,000 more than the current 2.5-mill issue now generates.
But township officials are projecting the yearly contract for EMS personnel will nearly double next year from $133,250 to about $260,000.
The township since 1996 has contracted with North Central EMS, Milan, O., which provides six advanced life support medical technicians for round-the-clock staffing of the squad housed at the township fire station. The township owns the squad’s vehicle and provides housing for EMS personnel as well as equipment such as heart monitors, stretchers, and related supplies.
One alternative the township board of trustees is considering if the levy fails is to have the county EMS system assume responsibility for covering the township service area. That option, however, would increase response times because the county squad would be stationed in the Village of Gibsonburg.
Lori Kepus, the township’s fiscal officer, said the trustees have been gathering cost data from other area ambulance companies which show the average cost for full-time EMS staffing would be around $260,000 a year.
There are no major purchases planned if the levy is approved, she said.
An informational flyer prepared by the township says the trustees are trying to find the “least expensive yet best ambulance service contract” but can’t negotiate any contract unless the 2.5-mill levy is replaced at 4 mills.
According to the township fire department activity reports, Life Squad 91 last year made 304 service runs: 154 required advanced life-saving service; 29 required basic life-saving service, and 89 non-emergency transports. The squad also assisted the fire department on 27 calls and responded to 5 calls requiring Life Flight service.
Since 2007, the life squad has had more than 300 service runs each year except for 2008 when it had 285 runs.
In 2010, about 53 percent of the runs were in the village, 31 percent in the township, and 16 percent on the Ohio Turnpike.
Woodville Mayor Rich Harman said he supports the levy but said he’d like to see Sandusky County allocate more of the county sales tax to fund costs for the life squad.
He said the county receives a lot of its sales tax revenue from the west end of the county and “we should be getting more.”
The county increased its sales tax rate in July 2010 to 1.5 percent and collected slightly more than $8 million that year, according to the Ohio Department of Taxation. The county tax is “piggy-backed” on the state sales tax of 5.5 percent.
Jeff Jackson, the county EMS director, said the county subsidy to Woodville this year is $10,000 and will drop in 2013 to $5,000.
County-wide issues, races
Voters will also decide a levy request for an additional 2 mills for maintenance and operations for the School of Hope, Sandco and MACC Center. The issue would run continuously if passed.
Except for one race for a county commissioner seat and the race for the county prosecutor’s office, there are no contested county-wide races.
Tracy Overmyer has no opposition in the clerk of court race; Kyle Overmyer is unopposed in the sheriff’s race; recorder Colleen Carmack is unopposed in her bid for office as is treasurer Irma Celestino. James Moyer and John Wukie are unopposed in the races for engineer and coroner respectively.
Thomas Stierwalt, county prosecutor, is being challenged by Timothy Braun while Glenn Baker and Terry Thatcher are vying for a seat on the board of county commissioners. The term begins Jan. 2, 2103.
Danny Polter is the sole candidate for a seat on the board with a term beginning Jan. 3.