Did you know?
That the voters in the New Madrid County Ambulance District will be asked to consider changing the method the Ambulance District is funded on November 7th? They will be asked to approve a 1/4 cent sales tax to fund the Ambulance District in place of the .15-cent on $100 of assessed property evaluation as they have now.
Did you know that if the sales tax issues were to be approved it would cost the buyer of goods in New Madrid County 1 cent for every $4 spent? That this method of funding would increase the annual operating budget of the district by about $200,000 a year:
That in order for the district to increase that amount through a property tax the levy would have to be .24 cents per $100 on assessed evaluation. Some of the questions that have been asked are:
What is the difference between a sales tax and a property tax? A sales tax is a fairer tax in that everyone living in or passing through the county who makes a purchase helps to fund the service. With the current property tax, only people owning property in the county pay the tax.
What happens to the property tax if the sales tax passes? The property tax will be rolled back to zero as long as the sales tax revenue exceeds the property tax revenue. We already know if the Sales Tax issue passes that the property tax will be zero for the year 2008.
Why will the property tax be zero in 2008 and not in 2007 if the sales tax issue passes in November of 2006? The reason is we have had to already set our property tax rate for 2007 because the State requires we have that in before the first of November. So the first opportunity the district will have to set a zero property tax rate is August of 2007, which will be for 2008. And the Board has already gone on record saying the property tax rate for 2008 will be zero if the Sales Tax Issue passes.
Doesn't the ambulance district charge for a call and also get tax money? Yes, we charge and yes, we get tax money. While our collections have been good in the past years, each year the insurance companies, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, continue to reduce the amount they pay. While our call load and expense continue to climb. We also have people who need ambulances who have no way to pay for a call. This places the burden of the money lost on the ambulance district and you the property owners in New Madrid County.
Ralph Barnwell Jr.