Supervisors hold first public hearing to declare EMS essential service in Shelby County
SHELBY COUNTY — The Shelby County Board of Supervisors held the first of three required public hearings to declare Emergency Medical Service (EMS) an essential service in Shelby County.
If the resolution is approved by the Supervisors, the decision to provide a county-funded EMS will be on the ballot November 7. The public measure would need 60% approval to pass.
Currently, a private business provides this service to the county. However, they will be discontinuing their service within a few years.
Alex Londo, Shelby County EMA Coordinator and EMS Advisory Council Member, thanked those involved in the preparation and planning for this measure. Londo mentioned several counties in Iowa are currently discussing similar resolutions. Eight counties had the issue on the ballot last year, and voters in five of those eight counties were in favor of providing county-wide EMS.
Londo stated the Advisory Council’s recommendation is 75 cents per thousand dollars of taxable valuation (not assessed valuation), and a 1% income tax would be collected by the state and apportioned to the Shelby County EMS Fund.
The EMS Fund will financially support all of the Shelby County Ambulance and Emergency Response teams, as well as local volunteer emergency medical response agencies.
“This additional funding will hopefully help the volunteer agencies so they don’t have to flip pancakes to raise money to be able to respond to medical calls,” Londo said.
Tim Plumb of the Irwin Volunteer EMS and EMS Advisory Council member stated at one time Irwin had 18 trained volunteers.
“Now we have four,” Plumb said.
He stated the decline in volunteers is not just an issue locally, but in rural areas throughout the country.
“This will benefit every department in Shelby County, and is the best value for the taxpayers,” Plumb stated.
Larry Madson, a Trustee of Monroe Township questioned if one county had a county-wide EMS and a neighboring county did not, what issues could it cause, and how would the situation be solved. Londo and Plumb both provided examples about the cooperation between volunteer organizations, and both assumed the same cooperation would apply to a county-wide EMS service.
Those present said cooperation between volunteer organizations is and has been happening for years, it was implied that the same cooperation would happen with a county-wide EMS service.
The board closed the public hearing and made a motion to approve Resolution No. 2023-29, “Declaring emergency medical service an essential service in Shelby County, and setting forth a funding mechanism for such services.”
The Board unanimously passed the resolution for the first time.
Two more subsequent approvals will be required during the next two public hearings, scheduled for June 6 and June 13 at 10 a.m.
The public is encouraged to provide written or in person comments about the EMS resolutions and the intentions of the Board of Supervisors.