Buchanan County Voters Pass Ambulance Tax

By Alan Van Zandt | avanzandt@kq2.com

Published 11/05 2013 10:38PM

Updated 02/07 2014 02:00PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Buchanan County voters passed a 1/4 cent sales tax increase Tuesday that will go toward paying for ambulance service.

The final vote was 6,307-3,165 in favor of the tax, or about 66 percent approval.

Supporters of the ambulance tax gathered for a party after the polls closed to track results as they came in.

The tax hike comes after Heartland Health announced earlier this year it would discontinue providing ambulance service to the community as of July 1, 2014.

Money collected from the tax will help fund a transfer over to a county-run, non-profit board.

"It's been an educational tool for the whole community and I think it will be even more so," said R.T. Turner, Presiding Buchanan County Commissioner and also on the committee supporting the tax.

"This is truly going to be their ambulance service now," he said. "I hope with the board we appoint, we're going to be very transparent about it with communication in the future. We hope that it is truly a community ambulance service.

Turner says work will begin soon to recruit committee members that will serve on the board.

The ambulance question was the only issue on the ballot for most in the county. Because of that, along with the rainy weather, voter turnout was low.

Less than 10,000 votes were cast, about an 18 percent turnout.

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