Schuyler County 1% sales tax increase a step towards self-sustaining ambulance service

Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 8:52 PM CDT
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RUSHVILLE (WGEM) - In Tuesday’s primary, 60% of Schuyler County voters voted “yes” for a 1% sales tax increase that would aid emergency services.

Schuyler County currently has one hospital and one ambulance service. If patients need extensive care, they must be transferred to a higher level facility.

In 2021, over 500 patients were transferred out of the county.

Culbertson Memorial Hospital CEO Gregg Snyder said the safety tax will allow the ambulance service to more effectively get patients to proper care.

“It’ll allow us to move forward with that security that we can appropriately transfer patients from our facility to higher levels of care,” Snyder said.

In 2021, Schuyler County collected $410,287 in school facility tax.

Snyder said that could be a rough estimate of what the safety tax generates.

Schuyler County Ambulance Service has four ambulances, three of which have over 100,000 miles, including one with over 200,000.

Schuyler County Board Vice chairman Jason Goddard said some of the department’s equipment has reached it’s life expectancy.

Goddard said the safety tax is a step in the right direction.

“This isn’t a 100 percent fix, but we’re definitely on the right path,” Goddard said. “We can’t just go out and buy brand new ambulances and hire more employees, but the tax will slow down the bleeding of the department.”

Goddard said that a transfer costs the ambulance service nearly $1,500 and Medicare/Medicaid is reimbursing at 30%.

Managing transfers more efficiently, Goddard said, will help put the department in a positive direction.

The 1% sales tax increase goes into effect on January 1, 2023.

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