Sebastian County Ambulance Fee To Be On November Ballot

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SEBASTIAN COUNTY (KFSM) — Voters in Sebastian County will vote on an ambulance fee increase in November.

Quorum Court members said voters will have the option to vote for or against a fee of $43, which is $25 more than the fee that has been in place since 1986.

The fee would not apply to people living in Fort Smith or Barling and would bring in $350,000 if passed by voters, according to Sebastian County Judge David Hudson. It would apply to residents in Central City, Mansfield, Hartford, Lavaca, Greenwood, Bonanza, Hackett, Huntington and Midland.

Hudson said with two primary and two secondary ambulances in the county, the fee is necessary to continue services.

“The money primarily goes to pay our employees,” Hudson said. “That’s the top area of expense. And then the maintenance cost to run an ambulance service including maintaining all the equipment.”

Greenwood resident Brenda Gann said $43 is a “big jump” from the current $18 fee. “A lot of people can’t afford it on a fixed income,” she said.

This is a one-time fee that would be collected on personal property tax statements in 2015 and would alleviate some financial pressure from the county’s general fund, according to the Quorum Court.

If it does not pass, Hudson said ambulance response time will not be effected.