To my fellow taxpayers in Lincoln County, I urge you to vote “No” on the Ambulance District’s Prop Ambulance proposed 35 cents per $100 valuation property tax increase for the following reasons:
The proposed yearly property tax increase does not have a sunset clause and would be a perpetual authorized property tax increase.
The proposed property tax is on top of the already-authorized 28 cents per $100 valuation property tax of which only 10.15 cents was used for the year 2018.
The proposed property tax increase plans to raise about $12.45 million over the five years 2020-2024. However, only $10.95 million would go to the five-year capital improvement plan.
The remaining $1.5 million in new revenues would go to the Ambulance District’s annual operating budget (approx. $300,000 per year) to increase paramedic salaries and hire more paramedics.
Of the proposed $10.95 million in new revenue $2.276 million or 20.8 percent would go to capital improvement reserve fund for future currently unspecified uses.
It is true that the Ambulance District’s call volume has approximately doubled since the year 2000. However, the rate of growth in call volume has flat-lined over the past several years and even decreased in year-to-year comparisons in two out of the last four years.
It is also true that the population of Lincoln County has increased by 43.49 percent from 2000 to 2017. However, Lincoln County has seen most of its growth in the early 2000’s. In recent years the population growth has flat-lined with a growth of only 5.38 percent in the last eight years.
To meet its projected 30-year growth target from 2000 to 2030, Lincoln County population would have to grow 35,755 for the years 2018 through 2030, which contradicts the current basically flat-lined population growth trend.
For the 12-year period 2007-2018 the Ambulance District has accumulated revenues of $63,319,542 and expenses of $61,680,018. This resulted in net revenues over expenses of $1,639,524, which was added to the district’s operation budget reserve fund. The district’s operation reserve account currently has a positive balance of approximately $4 million.
All of the above information is based upon data either obtained from or provided by the Ambulance District.
Thomas Artru • Troy