Hamburg’s proposal for a one-cent sales tax for ambulance service has been forwarded to the election commission, and the Ashley County Quorum Court has indicated it will not move forward with any plan for ambulance coverage in the county until after the election.
The Hamburg City Council adopted an ordinance in late May that will place the sales tax on the September ballot, and has committed to funding up to $10,000 a month to FAST Ambulance Service through the end of the year, when the tax would start being collected. Based on taxes already in place in Hamburg, the proposed tax could be expected to generate approximately $27,000 a month.
City Attorney Paul Keith said Monday that the ordinance has been sent to the election commission so the proper documents can be prepared and poll workers can be hired.
“The ordinances have also been approved as for form by the Secretary of State’s Office, so if it is approved (at the polls), it is proper,” Keith said.
The Ashley County Quorum Court’s Ambulance Committee met Monday afternoon, and County Judge Jim Hudson said after the meeting that the committee doesn’t want to move forward with anything until they see the outcome of the tax vote.
“If they pass the one-cent tax and we get an ambulance (of our own), that is like chopping your nose off to spite your face,” Hudson said.
“We are trying to work together with the city to come up with a plan that would be beneficial to everybody in the county.”
At its June meeting, the Quorum Court voted to authorize the committee to enter into negotiations with ProMed Ambulance about providing service in the county outside the area currently covered by the Crossett Fire Department.
Holding off on negotiations until after the vote may allow the county to negotiate a better deal, Hudson said.
“If we can take the money we have got and help, then maybe Hamburg and the county can go together and get two (advanced life support) trucks,” Hudson said.