JC Council against sales tax, county ambulance plan

Jefferson City council members passed a resolution Monday urging voters to educate themselves - and vote "appropriately" - on the sales tax increase coming up in November.

The council put together a list of reasons why they feel the city's ambulance plan would be better than the county's.

According to city data, the city's plan would cost the average tax payer about $20 bucks a year to take over Capital Region's ambulance service. The hospital has publicly announced they will shut down their ambulance service by the end of the year.

The move has left the county, and the city at odds over how to take over the ambulance services. The city and the county have come up with their own competing plans. City officials say the county's plan would cost the tax payers about $70 a year, more than triple their plan.

With the council already having passed an eight cent tax for ambulance services, some complain city residents would pay twice under the county plan.

"There's already a funding mechanism in place that the city council has already approved," said Scott Spencer, a Jefferson City firefighter. "And therefore if the half cent sales tax passes the city residents...[are] going to be paying for that same service twice. And we don't think that's fair."

Spencer said the city's plan would provide equal, if not better, service to the city and the county. City officials have previously argued the same thing.

Below is the resolution the council adopted Monday, sponsored by councilman Mike Harvey:


WHEREAS, the City Council of the City of Jefferson, recognizes the vital importance of insuring to stop providing this service for financial reasons; and

WHEREAS, the City of Jefferson has put forward a plan which will provide ambulance to our citizens and can easily provide service to residents of the areas outside the City within Cole County; and

WHEREAS, the municipal portion of the City Plan is already fully funded by taxes previously authorized by our citizens; and

WHEREAS, the City has offered to provide services at the same level enjoyed today to the residents of the County at an additional cost of only $400,000 and;

WHEREAS, the County Commission has placed a ballot measure before the citizens of this County, including the citizens of this City that will raise the sales tax in Cole County by one-half cent offset partially by a reduction in part of property taxes for the purpose of funding an as yet unspecified ambulance plan; and

WHEREAS; under the City Plan the average city household will pay only $21.66 per year for ambulance services while under the County Sales Tax the average household will pay an additional $70.92 per year, even after the property tax roll back; and

WHEREAS, if the County Sales Tax Increase fails, the City Council plan can provide affordable ambulance service to our residents and that affordable plan can be extended to our neighbors in the rest of the country, with no charge in the level of service;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Jefferson urges all voters to educate themselves on this issue, to participate in the democratic process, and to vote on November 4th, 2008.