Ambulance service could cost JC taxpayers

      Jefferson City residents could see their property tax go up by about eight-cents to pay for a new ambulance service.

      Capital Region Medical Center plans to shut down its ambulance service by Jan. 1, 2009. The reason is largely due to money. Hospital officials say they're losing $800,000 a year and just can't afford it.

      Ambulance services in many other areas are funded through tax dollars.

      In response to the situation, Jefferson City council members are considering a number recommendations. On Monday, they looked at two different reports and considered ideas such as hiring a private company to run the ambulance service or setting up a county-wide or municipal ambulance district.

      "Our projections are that the basic, very good ambulance service for residents of Jefferson City costs, we could pay that with about a five-cent property tax," said Jefferson City Mayor John Landwehr. "That costs the average homeowner about $12 bucks a year, so we think that's a pretty good investment."

      The other three-cents would be used to offset the initial cost of the ambulances and could be rolled back after a few years.

      The council will meet again on Aug. 18 to talk about Capital Region, the tax levy and the budget. The public is encouraged to attend.