County ambulance service is seeking a 5-year renewal
LAPEER COUNTY — On Tuesday, Aug. 4, Lapeer County residents will be asked to support the renewal of a reduced 0.9 millage rate to fund the Lapeer County EMS ambulance service for the next five years. The current levy stands at one mill.
If approved, the millage would cost Lapeer County homeowners whose properties are valued at $100,000 (and assessed at $50,000) about $54; or about $270 for five years.
Lapeer County EMS Director Russ Adams said LCEMS’s total budget revenue for 2019 is $5.2 million, including $2.1 million in billing income and $2.9 million in millage income.
He said payroll and human resources costs (wages, taxes and benefits) amount to 73% of the agency’s annual budget.
That includes 54 full-time employees, 42 part-time, 49 road staff Paramedics and EMTs, and five management staff.
Adams said the countywide ambulance service has met and exceeded the goals and requirements set forth for the agency in the 2016 millage proposal.
He pointed out that LCEMS had originally committed to having seven ambulance stations and now has eight.
Using 2016 approved millage funds, the agency added stations in Metamora, Dryden and Goodland, along with existing stations in Lapeer, Elba, Mayfield, North Branch and Imlay City.
Additionally, Adams said the ambulance service has increased road staff substantially in the past four years.
“We have doubled our full-time road staff and reduced our office administration staff,” said Adams. “We have invested over $1 million in capital purchases, including ambulances, equipment, and land for development.
“We’ve negotiated a competitive wage and benefit contract with our employee union, and we are currently fully-staffed in a time of shortages in our industry.”
Adams added that LCEMS has waived more than $1 million of out of pocket insurance copays and deductibles for residents.
“Not only is it waived,” he said, “the individual gets credit for paying it; as though it was paid with the insurance company.”
Since 1969, Lapeer County EMS has been a community-owned agency that provides emergency medical care and transport through a combination of tax funding and transport revenues.
Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.