UNION — The City of Union’s fire and Ems levy seeking an additional 2.5 mills was approved with 53.53 percent of voters for the levy with 46.47 percent against.
The police levy did not pass with 47.80 percent voting for the additional 2.5 mills and 52.20 percent against the levy.
More details to follow.
According to city officials, each levy would cost the owner of a home valued at $80,000 approximately $5.83 per month or a combined total of 38 cents per day.
“We have been talking about this for probably close to two or three years,” said City Manager John Applegate during a January city council meeting. “With the approval of the budget for Fiscal Year 2018 it is quite clear that we needed to come up with additional funding for both departments.”
The last police replacement levy was passed in 2004 along with a levy for an additional 2.5 mills for the fire department.
“We are grateful that citizens approved the fire/EMS levy, which will provide the fire department with much needed funding,” said Police/Fire Chief Mike Blackwell. “At some point the budget committee will need to decide when and if we place a police levy back on the ballot.”
In January city council discussed the levies. At that time Applegate said the city would have to raise more funds for both the fire and police departments. He pointed out that in 2016 the city had to transfer $25,000 from its general fund to support the police department and in 2017 a total of $52,000 was transferred and for 2018 it is project $63,000 would need to be transferred to support the police department. Applegate said that amount could increase by another $5,000 to $10,000 depending on how funds are expended during the year or problems that might develop.
The same holds true for the fire department. In 2016 the city transferred $107,000 and $179,500 in 2017. Budget projections estimate $74,500 would need to be transferred out of the general fund to support fire/EMS operations this year, but Applegate said he could almost guarantee that figure would double by the end of the year.
“We have seen a drop in revenue from 2016 to 2017 for EMS of almost $30,000,” Applegate said. “Part of that is due to the billing through Medicare/Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and other regulations. We need to raise additional money because those two departments actually need to stand on their own.”