London property owners may be in for some good news come November.
At Thursday’s city council meeting Monda, mayor Patrick Closser announced that the city intends to lower property taxes by 1 mill. This will be accomplished if the city creates its own emergency medical services department and no longer partners with Madison County Emergency Medical District (MCEMD).
The first reading of resolution 135-18, legislation that will place a 2 mill levy on the Nov. 6 ballot for the collection of taxes for emergency purposes, was heard.
A second resolution, which calls for the non-collection of the current 3 mill levy (which is the city’s annual contribution to MCEMD) also heard its first reading.
The two resolutions go hand in hand: the first effectively would give the city the ability to generate the funding for the newly created emergency services department (likely to be combined with the fire department), and the second would effectively stop the existing arrangement with MCEMD.
An agreement of the percentage of MCEMD’s assets to which the city is entitled will then have to be negotiated.
MCEMD should not be surprised about the proposition. The idea of London breaking away to create its own EMS department is not a novel one. There has been talk about doing something for years, according to the mayor.
“We have been very up front when researching this move, doing things such as public records requests and sitting down with three EMD board members,” he said.
Mayor Closser made no bones about the fact that he believes the city is being overtaxed by MCEMD for the services they provide.
“While assessing the current operations we have concluded the City of London can provide an improved, more efficient service to our community for a third less than what is currently being assessed for the provision of providing emergency medical services,” he said.
Carla Blazier, a long-time employee of MCEMD and currently the acting training officer, begged to differ.
According to Blazier, London pays only a third of the district’s squad expenses and yet accounts for some 60 percent of the runs. She also questioned the city’s ability to handle multiple calls simultaneously — something MCEMD does regularly.
Only councilman Henry Comer showed a reluctance to speak favorably on the prospect, refusing to put his name to any legislation regarding the matter until he saw a full plan or blueprint for the undertaking.
Neither councilmen Josh Peters nor Anthony Smith were in attendance.
The rest of council appeared to side with the mayor, most of whom pointed out the necessity of the community’s involvement on the issue — stressing that it would be John Q. Public who would ultimately decide at the ballot box come November.
A public hearing regarding the matter will be held in council chambers on June 21 at 6:30 p.m. Concerned residents are encouraged to attend and speak their peace on the matter.
Reach Andrew Garrett at 740-852-1616, ext. 1616.
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